One of my favorite parts about having people over for dinner is the simple act of gathering around the table to share a meal. I know that may seem kind of old fashioned but it’s true. Over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s in those moments gathered around the table where so many amazing things happen. You share how your day was… you listen to how someone else’s day was…you get to hear the good things, the bad things and the funny things too.
When we were growing up every night my dad was home, we would play our own version of Jeopardy. He would ask us everything from “Who is the Secretary of State?” to “How to do you spell Halloween?” Some of the questions would be really hard and some of them would be really easy but every night we came prepared to answer a wide range of topics.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some VERY competitive movements but at the end of each meal we would go around the table and play “Roses and Thorns.” I think this was probably my mom’s way of making sure we all left the table without an attitude. Our “rose” would be something good that happened to us and our “thorn” would be something that was “not so good.”
There was something about hearing the good and the not so good that left us all feeling a little more empathy for each other. It also made us realize we were a team no matter what the circumstances of the day had brought to our lives.
As I was putting together the Christmas table for the breakfast nook, I was reminiscing about those days. We didn’t know it at the time but shortly after we got of school for the summer the last year we all lived at Loblolly Manor together, everything about those sacred meals would drastically change.
In the weeks, months and years to come our dinners together would usually be about three times a week and sometimes less. We were off at cheerleading practice, swim meets, dance classes and PTA functions. Most of the time there was still tons of love, laughter and funny moments gathered around the table but we saved our Jeopardy sessions for the days our fearless leader and Alex Trebek wannabe would arrive home from leave.
Thankfully, this story doesn’t end on a sad note.
Fast forward a few years and one military retirement later, I’m excited to say we all still look forward to gathering around the table when we’re together.
What started out as a table for 5 has grown to a table for 12. Every time one of the littles is making up a “knock knock joke” or my dad is regaling us with tales from his golf game, I will forever look back on the time the 5 of us were gathered around the table in one of the smallest houses we’ve ever lived in playing our own version of Jeopardy sharing our “Roses and Thorns.”
After all, we’re still a team no matter what the circumstances of the day brings to our every changing lives.