Picture of Janet


Dinner at Six

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Much to the consternation of adult sons, my middle son and my youngest son have found themselves in residence at their childhood home.

In other words they are living with us.

It’s all very temporary and necessary and according to current statistics, it’s not even unusual these days, but that hardly makes for guaranteed success of a household of related adults being under one roof.

Their grandmother, approaching her 80th birthday this summer, resides here as well. (We tell her she is the matriarch because well she is. She rules. She rocks. She sets the example for self motivation. She never stops.)

We are three generations, under the same roof, who seem to be congenially sleeping, living, and sucking bandwidth up in unprecedented amounts all times of the day.

I don’t know what the hardest adjustment has been for the sons. Honestly, they seem to be faring fairly well with us three old people tottering around them, smacking our food and sharing the facilities. We have been a congenial lot without the drama that has accompanied past forays into combined living arrangements on my side of the family. The hardest part for me has been the sheer volume of ‘things’ that have had to be stored or utilized, brought back,  that I accumulated for those sons to make their own habitats livable and homey. It’s all stuffed into this 70s era house, a bad episode of American pickers without value,  gone mad.

Okay.  Its not we, it’s me. It’s them that are willing to  navigate around too much furniture without too much complaint. And they are mostly nice as they remind me that its me that moved us way past cozy.

During all this accommodating the one thing we’ve all agreed on without conversation is that we’ve had to eat and its that particular activity that has taken a turn that was unexpected outcome of our living arrangement.

We eat dinner at night together, gathered around a table, quite often.

Part of this is because that grandmother I mentioned  is a gifted cook and I’m not bad myself. I suspect the other part is that once we hit a critical mass of people who needed to eat, it became much less easy to rationalize the economic value of eating out.

Maybe it was mostly because we needed it.

The other night, all of us sated from some combined effort of Grandmother and me, no one got up once dinner was over. It was like the sweet, savory smells of a good dinner bound us to that little round kitchen table and no one was ready to leave. We had started saying grace and we ended feeling it. We’d talked about harmless things and maybe things of value. The sweet words of loss and remembrance stand out.  There had been talk of that brother, the one gone to heaven. They were words that made us laugh at his zaniness.  Buried in the conversation, a longing for his company but a recognition of his spirit lasting forever, in that place we believe, hope, in. But it was just plain good to talk about him.

It was good to sit around that table and nourish the parts that make us a family.

It’s been good several times now.

For whatever the reasons, bad and good that finds us sharing a home cluttered with too much furniture and burdened each with our own set of luggage, dinner at six, right now, in this 70s era house is where the five of us are supposed to be.


4 Responses

  1. I’ve had the privilage of being around that same table with all of you and have some wonderful and funny memories too. It’s a great place to be. You are blessed.

  2. I see every day children who are angry and discontented which is simply brought on by all the discord among their family members. It is because you and your family show the love and respect for one another that you are not only blessed, you can also feel proud.

  3. You nailed it, Janet! ….”where the five of us are supposed to be”. For whatever reasons your sons have returned to the nest (and God only knows there are so many these days), once again you’re all being blessed! You’ve written such touching words about this temporary arrangement, and I can’t help but feel that God intended for you all to be together again under one roof. Not so much for convenience or necessity, but rather to feel that super close connection that has always existed. I can only imagine the love, laughter, and precious memories shared around your table….and yes, I have no doubt that Jake is there sharing it all with you :-). I bet he’s laughing too about being “way past cozy”!

  4. Janet,
    We, too have been blessed to eat around that table. Psalm 128:2, 3b: You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours, 3b your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

    Our love to your and your beautiful family,


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