Before Nolie, we had a table, I don’t remember it. Meals were rarely shared there in the evening, bottles of wine and champagne and sticky cups sat there overnight after innumerable parties, it held a fish bowl and homework, graduation requirement paperwork, marriage license, a computer, life at that time. Piles and piles of job applications, old journals, and left behind dishes. It was mainly a holding space. A place to stick the important things to be left alone. We ate there, left for hours upon hours for work and school and parties and…and…and.. all of the things I can’t even remember.
After Nolie was born, around the table is where life is lived.
Breakfast and the french press Charlie makes me each morning, my odd assortment of plants that cycle in and out as they die at the hands of tiny gardeners, art projects and play dough rolling, painting and glueing, letter learning and name writing, puff ball arranging and portrait drawing. Long conversations in the dark with hands held tight and tears dropping quick as I doubt my next day moves, whispered fights and frustrated pounds, dinners. So many dinners. Every night we sit around our table and share a meal. And the meals have evolved. Meals filled with meat from animals we knew, garden fresh veggies with picked-washed-cooked, breads I watched rise and employed little fists to beat down, meals that carry weight beyond nourish.
First foods, first spoons, first tastes of chocolate-icecream-bubble water- first…everything. Meals that have stories about ants that turned into bumble bees who changed size and grew bigger but were kind and gave to me and. . . her stories. Her friend “who was mean. and then nice. and learned. and I forgave him but didn’t say it, but I really like my friend.”. A little one, her place at the table, with first words; “more apple, Ever?” Yes! “more water, Ever?” Mama, yes! Their meals shared there. Spoon feeding each other. Dropping strawberries, they picked from our back yard, into mouths and laughing over jokes I don’t hear, understand, know. Their tiny hands holding tight as Ever climbs down “with my help, eviebaby, don’t fall.” and I watch and can’t believe my luck. My blessings.
I haven’t been able to land on the perfect table. The balance between old and new. Between wipeable and wood. Between cheap and beautiful. I have tried to revamp; maybe a barn table? maybe enamel? maybe white? maybe round? maybe my grandma’s old table… maybe I’m not ready for that to be colored on.
But this weekend, we found it. And it’s perfect. And has held conversation, and homemade granola, and my first egg meal (I know, I’m the weirdest adult out there), and lots of little kids, and hard conversations, and dance parties on top of it with tiny feet stamping to the beat.