I came from a family that was relatively quiet. I have two older brothers. Jeff is ten years my senior and Kevin is 4 years older than me. Yes, I was the baby and I was a girl. Imagine my brothers' chagrin when they realized something alien came into the house on that day my parents brought me home from the hospital. Jeff was enough older that he didn't pay me much mind, but Kevin, he just wasn't too sure about this crying mess.
As we grew up in a conservative Christian home, we ate meals together. I have fond memories of sitting around our kitchen table eating. However, I do remember it being very quiet. Maybe it was because I was a girl or maybe it was due to our age differences, but there was hardly any conversation. Just reaching for what we wanted, or a quiet, "Can you pass the butter?" I don't remember talking about school or other family or....well, anything.
But somehow we survived and we all made it to adulthood. I met my husband, Mark in college (and that is another story). The first time I was invited to his home for a meal, I was ill prepared for the event. I did not realize I was going to the opera. When we sat down to eat the delicious meal his mother had prepared I was expecting a meal, much like those at my house....quiet, with little conversation. After we said grace, there was some chit chat as we passed around the food. Slowly there was a rise in the volume and speed of the conversation. I was trying to keep up with the questions being asked of me and the other conversations that were going on at the table. Mind you this is not a huge family. Mark has one married sister, that's it. But all of a sudden I found myself unable to keep up with the voices, all talking at the same time, all trying to be heard.
In opera the term is called imbroglio. It is usually a culminating piece where a number of characters are singing at the same time in a very emotional or fast paced way. So my first encounter with my husband's family was imbroglio. While it was a bit overwhelming, I was rather fascinated by it all. Over the years, I have learned to put my ten cents in (inflation you know) and I am able to take all the conversations in. And the family has grown. Two nephews, our own daughters and now additional in-laws and grandchildren.
Through it all I have come to appreciate family. Large or small, noisy or quiet, imbroglio or solo, it's all good. I am very thankful for the family God gave me, both by blood and marriage. I hope you are able to be thankful for yours as well.