Around the Table
The kitchen has always been a gathering place for my family for as long as I can remember. The women in our family have probably spent over half of their lives in their kitchens and I am no different. I spent countless hours conversing with my grandmother as she prepared meal after meal- three meals/day seven days/week and while she baked cakes and breads from scratch. I also enjoyed listening to her sing while she worked in the kitchen. Our family ate all of our meals at the kitchen table and, if someone had football practice or a meeting, we waited for them to get home and we ate together.
People are always pushing togetherness during meals at the family table--like this is something new or perhaps they believe families have strayed from this particular type of family quality time. Meals at the table with everyone around are the only kind I have ever known (and not just during the holidays) so it is no surprise that I would continue this tradition with my own kids. Certainly our kitchen table saw thousands of meals over the years. Sometimes we were even a bit creative with our meals- candlelight dinners; no manners night; dessert first night; etc. However, saying our table only satisfied family time during meals would diminish the importance and quality of the times our family shared while sitting there together.
Our kitchen table provided space for creating school projects; ginger bread houses; Christmas cookies; Easter eggs; colorful art work. The girls also studied and read books there. Many a game of telephone has been played at the table as well as hundreds of hours of playing board games, card games and putting together jigsaw puzzles. The laughter still resounds if you listen carefully. This table has seen more than anyone’s fair share of Girl Talk, both serious and silly- the sharing of the deepest secrets and fears that young girls harbor as well as the silly thoughts and stories of a day in the life. Our kitchen table has witnessed the tears and anger brought on by disagreements as well as the tears, hugs, understanding, and smiles the resolutions brought. It heard the intense discussions of the injustices of the world and the ways to make changes. It heard us telling our girls that they could be anything in the world they wanted to be. The table has been the meeting place for friends both young and old as each of their friends sat and discussed their lives with me as well. How amazing it was to know their friends almost as well as I knew my own girls. They all knew that there was no judge or jury at the table, only listening and an attempt to understand.
While I was growing up, the kitchen table was the center of our family life. It was the same while Hubs and I raised our girls. Now that our nest is empty, the kitchen table is still a meeting place for the two of us, every evening when we eat and share our day with each other. We still discuss our plans right there over that same table. And, when the girls are home, the kitchen table remains our center as it stirs past memories, and encourages the sharing of present goals and future dreams.