Tonight I was doing my usual post-kid-bedtime-kitchen-clean-up, and when it came time to wipe the kitchen table, I saw for the first time some red marker marks.
I set to scrubbing them and these “washable” markers marks would not budge. My eyes started to wander over the surface of the table, noticing scratches, rogue coloring, and more marks and dings than I’d care to admit.
And for the first time, I saw the kitchen table as the center of the story our family is writing each day.
There’s a pretty severe water mark at one end of the table from where our well-meaning church family sent us a planter of flowers after our first daughter was born. They (wrongfully) assumed that because I had successfully kept a child alive (at that point) for 3 days, surely I could also keep a potted plant alive. Nope.
Then there’s the scratch marks which are ironically close to where the 2 and 4 year old sit and have (in the past) run their fork back and forth in a sawing fashion.
There’s paint and marker.
There’s food stuck in that ridiculous edge that I have no idea why they put on kitchen tables.
The leaves are getting warped from age and our damp house.
The pedestal is wobbly, probably from being taken apart and put back together more times than I care to count in all of the moves.
There are times when I’m scrolling through my newsfeed and I see a table I would love to have. That bright, shiny, perfect, new table always makes my wonky and colored table look more than just “lived-in” but straight up shabby.
But tonight, as I looked at this table anew, I saw my wonky, lived-in table as a powerful piece of our family story.
Our life happens around this table.
Day in and day out, our life is happening right here.
This table has moved with me from address to address, first across Ohio, then out of state for the first time to Tennessee. From the hole-in-the-wall crappy house in the bad neighborhood with the saggy dining room floor, to our cozy first apartment as man and wife, from the house we needed to bring a baby home to, to the mobile home we lived in with less square feet and one more kid, and now here in the house we plan on staying in until we settle and put in deeper roots.
This table, where our daughter ate her first solid food.
Where we keep trying to figure out how to make a high chair or booster seat work with the height of the table top.
Where I’ve rolled out bread dough and stacked 100 lbs of mashed potatoes on one of the messiest Thanksgivings we had before we had kids.
This table isn’t fancy. But it’s been ours since we got married.
And even before that, it was my Grandma’s. My whole life, I remember life happening at this table. Playing cards with my much cooler and older cousins. Peeking under the bed sheet that was meant to hide the piles of junk to see if Grandma might have also hid some candy or cookies.
No, this table isn’t special. Except that it is. It’s where we eat meals as a family, Skype our family up north, do our school work, color for hours, and have talks late into the night after the kids go to bed.
This table is where our life happens.
This plain, old, wonky kitchen table that is usually sticky and almost always is the home to one pile or another is where we are writing the story of this life we are doing together.
This table isn’t special.
It’s just ours.