Monday, November 10, 2014

at our kitchen table





It's a place to gather. 

We create here: masses of paintings and drawings, grocery lists and to-do lists, meal plans and blog posts, storyboards and comics. 

We read here. A recent topic for parental reflection is whether or not it is bad manners to read while eating. The older kids are completely enamoured of the Amulet series of graphic novels, and dinner times have never been so quiet. One of my favourite things is reading while I eat, but I've gotten out of the habit because I don't want to be a bad role model. My husband thinks it's bad manners, but I'm into reassessing this judgment as our children become independent readers. The kids put Amulet into his hands and guess what? I caught him reading at the table. 

We also eat here. We gather in the morning; the children eat while I circulate, brushing hair, delivering vitamins, urging them to put down their books and focus on eating. While they brush their teeth and get their shoes on, I sit for a moment to eat a quick breakfast. The toddler sees this as an invitation, and climbs on my lap to nurse. I love this connection before we part for the day.

At the end of the busy day we reunite and connect around the table, each of us sharing a happy or hilarious highlight from our day. As the days grow shorter we light candles and enjoy the warmth, noise, and nourishment of gathering together after a day apart. It sounds idyllic and I don't wish to shatter your visions of my perfect family, but there is also quite a bit of arguing, nagging, and bad tempers. We are human after all.

On the days that we're home, we sit here for tea in the afternoons. Margot was sick with a stomach bug (she asked me, "How big is the bug, mommy?") last week and I spent a day at home with her. Our favourite tea, harvested locally by our friends at the Algonquin Tea Company, kept her hydrated, and it helped that I served it in a pretty mug that was a gift from a faraway friend. 

Sometimes I feel like the safest place in the world is right here at this kitchen table, its scars, spills, paint splotches, and smooth spots telling a story of our life as a family. When I get ready for work upstairs and hear my children's voices rising and falling in conversation and laughter, I know I am blessed. When we sit at it at the end of the day I am reassured that we are all home and safe, together and well-fed.

The kitchen table just might be my very favourite piece of furniture.

8 comments:

  1. I love this post! Our table is the same, it is an everything table. Often it is so crammed with things, we tend to push them to one end while we eat, create, and play on the other end! Once a week or so, I gather up the energy to clear it all off and I find places for everything. I will then often arrange a beautiful seasonal centerpiece with the best of intentions to keep the table clear and pretty looking;but all those items, and often new ones, find their way back to the table!

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  2. I absolutely love that picture of you! Such a beautiful mama and beautiful moment. This post makes me all warm and fuzzy. Even with the added arguing!

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  3. I love this post too, our wooden table has become a blueprint for all of the notes, lists, and drawings made upon it. The paint is always a bonus. I love how your pictures capture the coziness of it all.

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  4. Gorgeous, thanks so much for sharing these lovely moments of your family's life. They are really soothing and gratifying in ways that are difficult to put into words.

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  5. Beautiful post. Love the pictures. You are beautiful!!!
    Blessings to you!!

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  6. luv the nursing pic!! Im glad to see Im not alone!

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  7. What an amazing breastfeeding picture!!!

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  8. I love this, our table is the same. I got it free before I was married. It is solid and sterdy. Dented and scratched. Loved and used. I don't worry about ruining it, with each sticker, or bit of left over paint, I look upon our table with pride. The imperfections reflect our communal gathering, the creations, and the love. Though we talk about getting a new table someday, we are waiting until they won't trash it. Let me rephrase, we are waiting until I won't worry about the spills and glitter. I hope there will never be a time when a spill or fairy dust is discouraged. So we keep the table as a reminder, it's ok to draw outside the lines and leave your mark. I never want any piece of furniture so "nice" my children feel inhibited. Thanks for your post!

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