For the first time this month, I have two extra set of eyes on my words as I type.
The first set belongs to my oldest son, Ben. His hazel eyes don't believe that I could write an entire slice of life (something called "small moments" in his first grade classroom) about a kitchen table. The other pair of eyes are blue. They belong to my youngest son Kiefer, with whom I snuggled up in our shared bed in my Aunt Di's house. We're traveling, so our routines have been thrown out the window. The boys (and their big sister Lorelei) had chocolate milk with pizza for dinner. That kind of thing is just koo-koo crazy in our house!
They are delighted to be here at their great Aunt Di's house six hours away from our home in Virginia. I am, too!
So about this kitchen table. Ben accurately describes it as plain. That's true--as Kiefer leans on to it he can see that a lot of the surface has been rubbed away. But it's strong and it's sturdy. The chairs around it are not--they are a little wobbly, as if too many people have reared back in laughter and thus hurt the table--but did good things for their life.
Some years ago when my aunt was about to sell her home in Georgia before moving up here to Erie, Pennsylvania (which is a whole other story), my sister went to help prep her house for the market. She took one look at the table and sniffed at it. "Aunt Di," she said with the authority and know-it-all-ness that is always present in her voice, "You've got to refinish this table. It doesn't look very good."
Aunt Di sighed--she didn't want to add another thing to her to-do list, and she also disagreed. I think I particularly like this because few disagree with what my sister has to say.
The table did not get refinished. It remained as-is. A kitchen table like this one shows its wear and tear proudly. My Aunt Di has three children. I remember all of them as newborns. Now, in that trick time plays on us, the oldest is out of college and an actual, functioning adult, the older boy is a junior at Penn State, and her youngest is getting ready to graduate high school.
They've seen countless breakfasts, dinners, fights, UNO games, and way more on this very table. They've had discussions over lost cell phones, broken-up girlfriends, college applications, test scores, and even their father, my Uncle Brian's cancer diagnosis two years ago (from which he is slowly recovering).
A kitchen table tells a lot about a family. In this point of life where shows like Fixer-Upper and other home improvement shows will point out exactly how to make your kitchen better, your bathroom more fabulous, your yard a show-stopper, I think it's pretty nice to have a few things (at least!) in your home that remain the way they were meant to be--very used and very loved.