This I Believe

Amber - Nashua, New Hampshire
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

The Importance of a Table

My boyfriend, Mike, his family, and I sit at the table and prepare for dinner. Everyone takes their food, and then his family says grace while I listen quietly. I don’t share the same religion, you see. We then all say the Japanese “itadakimasu”, to start the meal. I believe it is important that we all share a table at dinner.

When I was younger and living with my family, dinner would be made, and everyone would grab a bowl or plate and go in their separate ways. Of course, that was only if everyone had the same dish. There were also times that everyone had dinner at different times. While this was by no means the sole cause, I feel that this helped in making us distant from each other.

Sitting down at a table for dinner forces a family to face each other and be in close proximity. If no one talks, an awkward silence ensues, making everyone uncomfortable. Therefore, conversation is formed. This helps the members of a family to get to know one another better, and to bond.

When I moved in with Mike and his family, I was a bit nervous about this custom. I am a very shy person, so the idea of having to talk in front of people I hardly know frightens me. But, his family gladly accepted me at their table, and even took Mike and my new tradition of saying the Japanese grace after their own grace. This helped me to feel more comfortable.

Conversations are held every night between Mike’s parents, sister, himself, and me. We get to know each other better, and get closer as a family. I feel through this as though I have become part of his family, causing me to be closer to him.

There are times that I wonder how my own family and I would have ended up if we had shared a table. What if we had shared that half hour to hour every night? What if we had held conversations, asking how each other’s day had been? Would I have moved out when I did?

Even though I couldn’t have this time with my own family, I am thankful I could have it with Mike’s. I feel at home with him and his family, and it helps me to see his sister as my own sister, his parents as my own parents. This is due in part to the table that we all sit at each night, if we are at all able. This I believe.