i've been remembering a lot of things about my family lately, things that i'd forgotten. there's the usual things always come to mind when i think about growing up -- christmas eves, Forest Friends, playing VIPER on the way to montana, the dancing marshmallow lady in the fire at Lapush, david's escapades with internets and leaders and bureaus of investigation (which catherine will never let die in social settings), phonecalls from safeway asking if david was allowed to be buying sugary cereal in his pj's late at night, early morning blueberry picking while the house was being renovated in summertime. there's things that i've heard about so much or seen pictures of that i can imagine them, even though i know i can't actually remember them -- mt baker erupting, sasha running away.
but i'd completely forgotten about family dinners. since i'd returned from prague, dinner was completely scattered. we all ate at the same time (lovely tasty mom food), but it was served on plates that were left on the counter, to be eaten alone in our rooms, usually. we never sat down together anymore. i think the disappearance of the kitchen table (made by my dad) helped with that shift. but we used to eat together.
my dad would sit near the window, my mom near the piano so that she could jump up and down if need be, i suppose. rebecca and i were on the side near the heater, while david and daniel sat near the stereo. david and daniel shared the smaller bench, because rebecca and i were older. while rebecca and i hated each other, we'd be at opposite ends of the bench -- to the absolute edge. at one point i decided i didn't want to sit on that side anymore (or maybe i decided daniel was my favourite sibling and wanted to sit near him instead of rebecca) and i started taking david's seat. there were fights, of course, but i still ended up sitting there for awhile. us kids would kick each other under the table, or we'd try to claim the most space on the stabilising board beneath the table by squashing everyone else's feet to the side. we'd make faces at each other (often the happy sailor face). if someone was drinking milk, we'd make a refined barfing "bleah" action, guaranteed to make them laugh out loud and spray milk everywhere. our parents thought we were pretty horrible to have at the table. we'd get told off for talking over each other.* even when all of us kids hated each other, we'd end up making stupid jokes, and everyone would end up laughing, albeit grudgingly. and we'd all keep it up. until we were all told off for making jokes at the table. during devotionals after dinner, we'd be making faces and trying not to be the one to laugh out loud and get everyone in trouble. once, our mom asked us what the readings were about, because she didn't think we were listening. daniel replied, "God." it became a regular joke, never to be appreciated by our mom.
we never started a food fight. i don't think. all of us kids all hated family dinners, i think. at least, we did most of the time. because who wants to spend time with their family, of all people?
i miss them. if only because i can't make the "bleah" face in proper company without having to explain it. or the happy sailor face. and kicking people under the table just isn't as fun as when you're trying to hide it from your parents.
* i think that's where i developed the mental image of conversation lines, and is why i find crossing conversations (where the imaginary line would make an X) hard to follow, or just downright rude. because sound follows a direct, precise line, didn't you know?