As a teenager, I occasionally resented our family dinners; I would have preferred a pizza in front of the TV or a quick bite at the kitchen counter to the hour-long, six person affair at the kitchen table. As soon as I arrived at college, however, those dinners were what I missed the most. When I moved across the country, I avoided calling at dinner time, not because I was afraid of interrupting, but because hearing the laughter and bustling of dinner preparation made the homesickness almost unbearable.
Since my parents and sisters have moved back to San Diego, family dinners have been joyously reconvened. They are incomplete, of course, since my brother is still in Vermont, but they are expanded as well, a husband and boyfriends added to the rotation. Sometimes, as tonight, it is only a partial group. Regardless of who can make it, there is always laughter and impassioned discussion of matters both serious and silly. Next week we will be six again. Even better, we will be nine, with everyone happily partnered. Nothing could be better.