I love my dining room. Not because it’s all that fancy, or because we eat dinner in there all that often. But because it’s become one of the places where the “Kodak moments” of my life seem to happen. (I’m dating myself with the use of the term “Kodak moments,” aren’t I??)
My dining room is at the front of the house, just to the right of the front door, so it’s often the first impression people get when they visit my home for the first time. In fact, if the rest of downstairs looks like it usually does, I will occasionally usher a visitor in that direction to avoid the general clutter that typically invades the direct path in. For Halloween, when I’m opening the door for lots of people, I stage the table with decorations and candles, giving an ooohhh-aaahhh impression to those who peek in. (It’s fine with me if they think it always looks like that!)
It serves us well for homework and studying. The outlets in the room are usually available for a visiting laptop, and the big table is perfect for laying out flash cards or spreading out notes.
This is my first house with a real dining room. When we moved in I had visions of fancy-smanchy dinner parties and grown-up soirees, with guests milling around, admiring my china and sipping from my good crystal. Those events never did come to pass, but the things that have happened in this room have been even better.
I serve my holiday meals there, usually with extra tables pulled in for the family and friends who come to share special days with us. Yesterday, as I was setting the table for Easter dinner, a wave of nostalgia came over me, and I started thinking about the memories the room had. Snapshots flashed through my mind, and a smile came to The Lucky Mom’s face.
Christmas 2008, the year my husband was in Iraq. That year we only had 10 people at the table, but it was important to me to keep my tradition going.
We moved here in 1999. That Christmas was the first time I was able to seat all of our guests in the same area. We had several tables pushed together, spilling into the living room. But we were all there. A few years prior I had bought enough “party china” to serve more people than could possibly gather in my house. I checked online to make sure the place settings were done right. The room looked beautiful.
Thanksgiving of 2006 was the first holiday that our best friends (the ones we celebrate all special events and holidays with) were back in their house after Katrina. After we sat down, my dear friend Elena said the blessing. With her voice shaking and tears in her eyes, she gave thanks that we were all together again. I’ll never forget that moment, for it reminded us of what really matters.
Our holiday crew has changed quite a bit over the years. After Katrina, one whole branch of our family tree moved to Houston. The next year, my mom went to heaven, and Gramps is now in a nursing home. As for the “kid’s table,” 3 of the kids are in college, and 2 are over 6’ tall. But they’re still our “kids,” and sit at their designated table without complaint.
Setting up the dining room for holidays is a bit of work — bringing in extra tables and chairs, pulling out the china, finding enough silverware for everyone. Picking it all up is definitely a chore.
But I love it when my dining room looks like this:
because it means people I love are on their way!