Not Just for Breaking Bread
I try as often as possible to have dinner at the table in our kitchen. It’s not always possible and sometimes I just don’t want to do it. When the kids want to watch Doctor Who on a Saturday we eat and watch. Yes…that’s contrary to the whole “dinner is for conversation” thing, but if you’ve ever had to endure watching television in my home with my children you’d know there’s very little watching and much more conversation. (Even when you don’t want the conversation and want to know what’s going on in the plot!)
Our kitchen table, though, is far more than a kitchen table. We don’t just break bread there.
I should say that most of the activity in our home centers around that table, the kitchen and the dining area. Yes…there’s an area with a fancy dining room table (one we inherited from Andrea’s grandparents – they were going to throw it away). There’s a place to eat our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. But the kitchen table we’ve had since the days we lived in Texas. It was one of those purchases that my wife just “informed” me we had made after she realized, with the deep magenta of chagrin showing on her cheeks, that she couldn’t lift it out of the back of her Suburban to get it into the house.
We’ve managed to take apart, put back together, move, and reassemble this table innumerable times. It sat in the kitchen in Texas. It sat in the kitchen in our last home. It is the center of the kitchen now.
But back to the point . . . it’s not just the place where we eat. That picture on the top there, the one with my kids eating homemade pot pies . . . that’s pretty typical. (The eating, not the pot pies)
More often, though, it looks like this:
I should honestly be beside myself right now. The sock monkey cup, coffee cup (filled with stale chai tea) and the book . . . remnants from the evening’s homework . . . were not there a few hours ago. We actually did eat at the table this evening. However, I can’t be too angry.
The cut out tree is part of a homework assignment for my daughter for her Italian class. In it she pasted photos of her brothers and her, me with my Dobro, and then a shot of her older sister. All these things making a big difference for her in her life.
I also noticed it’s the first time she’s put a family assignment together that didn’t have the long shadow of her mother hanging over it. It’s not that she’s missing . . . but our daily lives are in a completely different routine now and she’s come to embrace that, hard as it was to fathom in the beginning.
The chairs to the table have the wicker crumbling apart. I don’t have the cash right now to replace them so I’m looking at seat cushions to cover it up for now. The table has some missing parts but it’s still sturdy. As cute and touching as the homework assignment was . . . it’s now about 10:30 at night. The kids have to eat breakfast at the table in the morning.
Then the emotion starts to wane . . . as I look and realize that my newly cleaned floor is now covered with scraps of paper, my kids are all in bed . . . and the scrap paper on the table is a mere three feet from from the recycling bag behind me.
I sigh . . . clean up . . . and try to remember that it’s not just a kitchen table. It’s so much more.