Nearly every night, it was a given, my dad, mom, sister, brother and I sat down for dinner. We usually had a nice hot meal prepared by my mom, but sometimes it was just an ordered pizza or Chinese food. We talked about anything—controversy with my sister’s dance studio, any interesting incidents my brother encountered with his first grade teacher, or if I won “Four Corners” in my afternoon kindergarten class. It was great, low-stress conversation with the entire family. Yes, sometimes there was the occasional argument, usually between my mother and brother or because I gave our dog, Maggie, my left over meat, but looking back at it, the fights were really nothing, and they just added some excitement.
Those dinners, though, I…I guess I took them for granted. Up until I finished eighth grade, when I was 14 years of age, I enjoyed these fun conversations with my family over dinner. I had never thought that they were going to begin to come to an end. That next school year, my sister left for college in Pittsburgh. She came back for breaks, but most dinners were spent without her. Usually, she would break up a fight between my mom and brother. In a sense, she was like the peacemaker. So when she had left and my mom and brother started a little argument, my dad and I just kind of look at each other and did not know what to do. So their little arguments began escalating into big fights, which ended up happening often. I was already beginning to miss dinners with the whole family like it once was.
Two year later, my brother is now 18 and is a senior. He has a license and a car. So as his senior year progresses, he has been missing more and more family dinners because he is over at a friend’s house or at the varsity soccer game, etc. And although he often causes confrontations, Jimmy adds a lot to conversations. He always has a strong opinion on topics, which make the dinner conversations a little more interesting. Without him there as much, I am beginning to realize that the family dinners we once had are over.
So by now, I am a junior in high school, and my family has already began growing farther apart. But not in the sense that we are not close any more, but in the sense that we do not see much of each other and do not share the little stories that happen every day. It seemed such a short while ago, too, that we were all together at the table for dinner. The time passed quickly, and that is why I believe that it is important to take advantage of time with family during childhood because it may seem like it will always be there, but it is not. So try to take as many memories and as much fun from the time spent with family before you realize it is over.