By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
I love family dinners. I did not realize growing up what a rarity it was to have dinner, every night, with my family. Night in and night out, there was a home-cooked meal on the table. Only now that I have a full-time job do I realize how exhausting such a proposition must have been for my mother who was a high school teacher. And yet, even when swim practice ended at 9 pm, my parents waited dinner for us so that we would all eat together. By their example, they taught my brother and me the importance of coming together once a day as a family to share and to reconnect.
It is hard to explain the sense of security and love such a ritual brought me as a child. I knew, no matter how good or how bad the day had been, that we would have time as a family to share and support each other. We would talk about our days, discuss school, swimming, our friends. We would laugh and tease each other. Some times, the meals would be quick as we had homework to do or swim practice was late and we wanted to go to bed. Other nights, we would linger and talk for hours. As we aged, we would discuss politics and world events. My parents were unfailingly interested in our lives.
My parents learned this tradition from their parents and passed it on to my brother and me. In fact, after my dad lost his mother, the item he most wanted to remember his parents was the dining room table.
My favorite dinner memories occurred in Montana as a child and teenager when my grandparents from Massachusetts visited, my Montana grandma came over for dinner, and we shared so much more than a meal as we sat around the dining room table. We shared our lives, our dreams and our family history. We knitted together the fragile bonds that make a family, even across the miles.
Even today, when we are together as a family, a too rare event with us spread around the country, we have dinner together. We sit at the dining room table, discussing our jobs, our friends and family, the trips we have been on and the trips we dream about taking. We talk about politics, current events, history, anything that has struck our fancy. It is an amazing time of coming together, of sharing, of solidifying our bond as a family. I am thankful for the number of such memories I have to cherish.