Many years ago, Robert decided that he wanted to help me register for our wedding. I didn't generally have a problem with it as I thought that he would be helping with the general "house" stuff. HA! Little did I know that he wanted input in EVERYTHING. When I say everything, I mean china pattern, crystal pattern and even my silver.
My silver pattern was picked for me when I was a baby--and I had several pieces. I put my foot down that I was NOT changing it. I actually hoped that he would BUTT out of my china and crystal as well...no such luck.
We fought--I mean really fought. We actually fought more over planning our wedding than we did the entire time we were married. I swore that we were never getting divorced because I was never again going to endure planning a wedding! Most of the strife actually came in the disparity on our family sizes. His was very very small--less than 20 total and mine was HUGE over 100 with only the closest cousins on each side. At the time, he couldn't really comprehend how a family could not only be so large, but be so close that they actually spoke to each other regularly.
Here is some insight. I was brought up knowing how to set a proper table with fine china and crystal. He thought it was a very neat idea and something he had never experienced. It was a right of passage in our family to be able to learn to care for and even wash it at my Great-Grandmother's house. Mom and Nana also served meals on their fine pieces and it was a BIG deal to be promoted to the grown up table. I had my heart set on the type of patterns that I would get to pick. I didn't even consider that my future husband would even want to bother with those details. Boy was I wrong.
I wanted simple china, he wanted ornate. We settled on a middle of the road pattern that he really liked and I tolerated. What is important is that the pattern was the very first time that we compromised. I served on it often. I was careful to rotate the boxes so that no one set faded more than the rest. It was our home from work a little early and had time to set the table dishes. We used it at least once a week and often times more.
After he died, it was boxed up and moved, and moved again, and moved again and finally moved into my house. I have not used it since the week before he died. It seemed like every time I looked at the boxes I was flooded with memories that led to tears. These beautiful dishes had sat unused for far too long.
I decided a few weeks ago that I would serve Christmas on my fine china. This was a huge step for me. This morning I pulled it out, and set the table. Only, I don't have enough pieces for the entire family so I ended up intermixing my other dishes, but I still used them. Mom brought over a few settings of my great-grandmother's silver for me to use to complete the table and we had a great meal. Lots of laughter and love around the table today. It was the kind of Christmas that I remember from before my life was touched by tragedy. We were missing one brother and his family that were at his inlaws, but my youngest brother brought his girlfriend and my sister brought her father in law.
I am so grateful to have my family around us and to be able to cook and entertain everyone. It was a very nice day.