Family Dinner


One of my most favorite things in the world is family dinners. Food and family have a longstanding tradition not limited to my family, of course. It’s just that my family is, well, mine. And I wouldn’t want any other.

Family dinners are always hectic, with crazy cross-conversations, lots of teasing, lots of laughing.

Tonight we had a family dinner—the first in a couple months. I was thrilled to have my sisters here and everyone together. Mom cooked a fantastic meal. My brother-in-law busted everyone’s chops. My niece kept us laughing. The usual.

Except for one thing.

It was the first family dinner without my dad.

It had to happen at some point, I know. We didn’t talk about my dad tonight; we weren’t ready. But we all felt his absence.

I had to get used to a dinner table without my grandmother. Then without my grandfather. Then without my cousin. Now I have to get used to a dinner table without my dad. Each adjustment is painful. Each adjustment takes time.

When I imagine heaven, I imagine being greeted at a huge dinner table with a feast of all my favorites alongside all the family members who have gone before me. I imagine going around the table and giving hugs to my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and all the people I’ve missed. Really, what could be better than that?

In the mean time, I don’t think there will ever be a family dinner I will sit down at and not feel a gaping hole in my heart for the one less place setting that should be there.

But there are still memories to be made, laughs to be shared, family to be loved.

So they will always be one of my most favorite things. My dad would want it that way.

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