At the end of each of these rather long days of late, my family has a small tradition of going around our dinner table and everyone stating one high and one low from the day. I must admit that I cherish this time around our table, just us, my husband and kids. The feeling of normalcy it lends me if only for a few minutes is just what I need. Just gathering as a family for a meal and conversation is a beautiful thing.
In the before, my husband and I didn't always make it home in time for dinner with the kids, or one of us did but not the other. Or, we grabbed something as we ran back out the door to take someone to somewhere- practice, Scouts, walk the dog. While I miss that craziness, I have also learned to cherish the calm that comes from preparing a meal with the kids (don't laugh, there are moments), having them set the table (they are learning), and then all sitting down together (even if I have to tie my 5 year old to his seat).
Our table is nothing fancy, in fact, it is an old Century farmhouse style table from one of our old collections, Bordeaux, made of wormy chestnut. The distressing of the table works perfectly for us. I'm not worried about the kids beating it up, and the crumbs get vacuumed out of the crevices at least once or twice a week. Now looking at it, I think I appreciate it so much more than I ever did. It has become the central figure in my family's togetherness. It is where my 5 year old shared that his low was not getting to be with his friends, and my daughter cried because she realized her school play which she had been working so hard to learn her lines for was not going to happen.
My high that night was watching the resiliency of my children as they processed this strange new reality. My low was feeling their hurt and longing for friends and lost accomplishments.
There is a poem that my sister-in-law shared with me a long time ago about a table, and I have been thinking about it a lot lately and wanted to share it with each of you. Here's hoping you all have a table like this in your house that brings you together to laugh, to cry, to hope and to dream.
Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.