My dining room table isn’t much to look at, I guess. It is antique and part of a set, just nothing fancy. It kind of needs refinishing and maybe some new upholstery on the chairs, but it is precious to me. Life has happened here at this table, in this room.
We sat around this table when my father was dying, eating meals that family and friends had brought in, mostly in solemn quiet, but there was that one moment when a well-placed comment brought laughter for long minutes, the kind of laughing that makes your face hurt, the kind that can’t be explained years later, only the ones who had sat there in that moment understanding.
We have established traditions at this table. Thanksgiving share, for example, where everyone gets to say what they are thankful for that year, my father was always last to speak and always made us cry with his tenderness for us. Now we cry in memory and sometimes shy away from any real expressions of gratitude on that day. We also have huge 4th of July meals here, fancy Christmas dinners, and breakfast on New Year’s Day. Romantic Valentine meals have taken place here and luncheons celebrating new life on the way.
We sat at this table with a birthday cake for a Marine son in Afghanistan one year. We sat here with him during his R&R leave, tense, sad conversations, so full of love for each other, and again when he came home and married his sweetheart after deployment, we sat and talked with such immense relief at his return.
We have sat at this table with lawyers, trying to make decisions that would impact a life, many lives as it turns out, and we have sat at this table and wondered at the what ifs of the options we didn’t take.
We have laughed loud raucous laughter here, playing games or reminiscing. I think it is my favorite place, in my simple life, for such things, for talking late into the night. We have eaten really good food here, especially my mother’s cooking, and we have tried new recipes and diets. We have sustained life here.
We have fed babies their first bites of food; my parents granddaughter so ill, who’s survival was in question, sat here and smiled her precious smile at us, and years later as an adult can sit here still. Our new grandbabies, my father’s great grandchildren, have begun to celebrate birthdays here, and will continue to be part of the gathering of family in this room, bringing energy and light.
During an evacuation order due to wildfire, I stood at this table, my Mother’s antique table, so deeply saddened about leaving it here.
Our home was not touched by that fire, our table still stands, waiting for the next time our family sits together, laughs together, or cries together here, loving one another; this simple, strong piece of furniture quietly connecting our lives.