We had a family birthday last week. One of our traditions over the years has been to have a big birthday dinner at home with the good china and whatever the birthday person wants to eat. We had to discontinue this tradition a few years ago when our living room and dining room were being renovated. We started going to restaurants which was definitely much easier. This last November, Ems decided that she wanted a birthday dinner at home so we hurried to finish up the dining room and unpack all of our china and other family treasures. Thus we are back to our established tradition of dining room dinners. Our dining room is awash with family history: flatware and candlesticks which were wedding gifts to my parents, hurricane lamps which were wedding gifts to my in-laws, grandmas' spaghetti dish and great grandma's platter, portraits of my husband's Italian great grandparents on the wall, and memorabilia from my grandparents' years as missionaries in China. During dinner preparation I always think of my parents and in laws and remember the happy times we shared. I often contemplate how past generations may have celebrated family special days. I also wonder what the future will bring to these celebrations. With my kids moving to distant places, will these dinners become a thing of the past? Will we have grandchildren to add to the mix if they don't? Who knows? In any event, I will continue to treasure these family traditions no matter what form they take.
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