Then, there was also that bittersweet moment when I realized that Grandpa was missing. He wasn’t sitting on the couch or at a stool at the counter. This marked the first time everyone, all 22 of us, were together since my Grandpa’s funeral last June. His absence was noticed but not dwelled on. Instead the happiness and appreciation of having everyone under one roof overshadowed the emptiness.
One thing I really appreciate at family gatherings is that before each meal Grandma pulls out a special prayer to read. It may be from the newspaper or one from her collection she has set aside over the years. She picks out one that seems to fit the situation and reads as everyone circles around her. It reminds me what brings us all together and how many blessing we receive each day, especially on this day the birth of baby Jesus. After her prayer the feeding frenzy begins. It is funny how everything is done in an unspoken routine way, oldest generation first then the younger ones follow, I have to say that is one benefit of being the third oldest grandchild.
However, no matter how old I get until I have a child of my own to fill my seat, I am stuck at the kid’s table. It is a part of the day that I now look forward to since it is quality time spent with my cousins. Perhaps since the parents are in the formal dining room (out of sight, out of mind), the kids are able to let loose a little bit. No one focuses on manners or making sure they talk about dinner appropriate topics. We get to be ourselves around each other and are accepted, loved which to mean is the true meaning of family.