Sometimes it takes a little chaos to appreciate something beautiful. Sometimes you have to step back from the everyday to realize how valuable it is. And sometimes you decide to rip out your entire kitchen, spread all of its contents throughout your home, and live for a few weeks with 7 people and no stove.
I will be the first to admit that I was not really fazed by the possibility of going 3-4 weeks without a kitchen. In fact that seemed like a pretty reasonable time period. That being said the walls are starting to crowd in around me as our kitchen “stuff” is spread over every surface of our dining room.
On a normal day we eat all of our meals at our kitchen table. It is a big beautiful slab of pine that belonged to my grandparents. If you run your hands over the top you can feel the dents and dings from years of family and kids. If you look closely you can still see the indentions from the Spirograph drawings we made without remembering to put something underneath our paper first. The table only has 6 chairs (there are 7 of us) so we pulled in an extra from the dining room. It’s not a perfect fit for our big family, but I still remember my grandpa swell with pride as he gave it to us and helped load it into the back of our truck to move it to our new home. I can hear my grandparents’ voices as we would sit to eat at family gatherings in their kitchen. I can remember sitting there and watching my grandma and my mom and aunt preparing holiday meals. I can feel the memories. So it is perfect. Now, as our kitchen remodel occurs, the table has taken up residence in the playroom sitting between bookshelves and the relocated refrigerator. I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss it.
You see, right now we are eating in our dining room. It is usually my favorite room in the house. I love the paint color…and it stays clean. Right now it has an art table loaded down with a microwave and pots and pans, a coffee table holding (ironically) our coffee makers, and our tailgate table stacked precariously with various kitchen items. All this in addition to the table we bought for ourselves when we moved to North Carolina. And the chairs I acquired one by one as I found them at TJ Maxx stores. And a beautiful two seated bench that my lovely friend and neighbor sold to me after realizing her Facebook Marketplace purchase didn’t fit in the intended space. The dining room is filled to capacity.
The dining table has already seen a few nicks and scrapes, but it has also seen birthday parties and holiday meals and family game nights and more than its fair share of folded laundry. We are building the next generation of memories at this table, but for now I miss the clean spaces around it. Everything in this room was bought by us specifically to go in this space. Since the beginning of our married life our first 4 homes were mostly an accumulation of other people’s castoffs, this space that was all our choosing is special in its own way. But right now the chaos has me longing for our beautiful, everyday kitchen table. And a little bit of routine to go along with it.
There are about a million reasons that people point to about the importance of eating meals as a family, and almost as many things that can make that seem impossible, but the feeling I get when I pull my chair up to my kitchen table, and look around at my wonderful family, and the memories that rush back to me from when I was the little one pulling up a chair, tells me that it’s important to keep on finding a way. Even in the chaos.