Twenty five years ago my first husband and I bought a new home with four bedrooms and three baths, but my favorite part of the house was the enormous room you walked into from the front door. It had no dividing wall but the design was to use half of it as a formal living and the other half as a formal dining.
From the beginning I decided to make it into one huge dining room that would catch the eye when everyone walked in through the front door of my home.
My three children were very young, but I envisioned them grown and married. We counted five at the time, but one day we would grow to eight, maybe more if we factored in grandchildren, so I bought a table that sat a family of twelve. My husband thought it silly to look that far ahead and convinced me to buy only ten chairs.
The room looked magnificent – the long, majestic table, the ten chairs, the buffet, a couple of real ficus, and a few other nice pieces of furniture – I was pleased.
The table lasted longer than the marriage, and it has gone with me to every house since then. There were homes where it didn’t fit and times when it would be more economical to just get rid of it, but I refused to surrender my dream of family.
It has been used for homework by two generations and survived an unfortunate homework accident long ago. Every time I change the tablecloth, I run my hand over the scar and smile at the memory.
My grandsons use it in their play, hiding underneath it by lying on the chairs or pretending it is a cave. They help me set the table and hunt throughout the house to find extra chairs. I love that the chairs don’t match.
It has served many holiday and birthday meals and has witnessed a lot of laughter and heartwarming conversation. That table embraces my hopes and dreams.
This Christmas, it will sit fifteen people. Fifteen of my most favorite people. We’ll sit five, elbow to elbow on each long side, and two at each end. The baby will be in his new high chair, banging on the tray with a spoon or a rattle.
Four others will be too far away to join us, and one will be in heaven watching down, but if they were here, we would just put the kitchen trestle table to use. It can sit another eight. The more family, the merrier. All are welcome at my dining table.