Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Kitchen Table

Ryan has a deep love for woodworking and a deep lack of time to devote to it. He works more than fulltime right now and spends his nights and weekends being a husband and a father, and sometimes recovering from the workweek! Even still, he is forever sharing with me the list of projects he hopes to work on.

Like a picnic table for the backyard. Like a log cabin-esque clubhouse for our babies. Like a beautiful bed frame. And, most often, a kitchen table.

A big kitchen table that will seat our family of six and the friends our children will someday have over. A table where we can spread out to play board games or work on homeschool projects, where I can write, where our children will blow out their birthday candles most years.

This is currently just a pipe dream, and it isn’t actually mine… but it’s one I have a crazy sentimental love for any ways.

My husband is not a man of emotional words. He doesn’t ever choke up when he tells me stories about his childhood or when we talk about our dreams for the future. Material items don’t ever have a sentimentality hold on his heart.

But this table, the way he talks about this table, shows a kind of sentimentality that runs deep inside of him and can’t stay hidden.

The kitchen table, after all, is where probably half of our memories are stored.

My grandma’s kitchen table means a million things to me. It means beef stew with buttered bread. It means coloring in a coloring book, the crayons stored in a green trick-or-treat bucket with a witch’s face and hair on one side. It means Wahoo and Battleship and Do it to Your Neighbor. It means ice in my ramen noodles so they wouldn’t burn my tongue. It means old photographs. It means Christmas.

My parents’ kitchen table makes me think of homework. It makes me think of shaving cream, and the hours my mom spent letting us slide our hands in shaving cream on the table. It makes me think of my Scooby Doo birthday party. It makes me think of fuzzy posters. It makes me think of the time Mom was gone and Dad made us a spaghetti dinner; Christopher and I blew milk bubbles and covered the table with them and Dad just laughed right along with us.

My first kitchen table was where I hosted board game nights with my friends, a Little Caesar’s $5 pizza the best I could afford for my guests. My good friend Ryan came over one night and made us bacon and eggs, which we sat down to eat at my table. Shannon and I spent hours playing Pay Day at that table in the basement apartment, and the first meal I served as a wife was gluten free lasagna with green beans and water melon in the condo we rented in Prescott.

We moved into the Winnebago, and then the Challenger, and then we decided to have a baby and settle down. Ryan’s mom bought us a table for our Utah apartment and gosh, that table. I addressed birth announcements at that table. Our baby had his first bites of baby food at that table. We moved that table around with us and I sat at it to write and to sew and to play board games with my husband… and every night we sat at that table and ate dinner as a family, our boy in his high chair beside us. We added another baby and another high chair, and then put a kiddie table next to ours when we started to run out of room.

We finally sold that table last week. We moved the kiddie table to the homeschool room and bought a table big enough to seat our family… but one we already know we’ll eventually outgrow. We’ve only had our new table for a few weeks but it’s already got a few scratches and dings. I’ve already had to wipe crayon off of it. We’ve already eaten more meals than I can count at that table. I have written so much sitting at that table. I’ve read book after book at that table when my breakfast or lunch was finished and my children were still working on theirs. We’ve played board games at this table.

We’ve only had this table for a few weeks and it’s already made up more of memories than it is of wood.

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