When I was a wee toddler posing on the kitchen table with one of my many themed birthday cakes, I apparently honed the scowl I may occasionally make to this day.
When I was two, I fell off the kitchen table bench… while biting my tongue!!! Hence my go to scar story is about the horizontal scar on my tongue, which I thought was a completely normal tongue anatomy until about the first grade.
When I was four or so, my beloved, rickety, chipped paint stool, poised at the esteemed head of the table position, finally toppled beneath my weight (which was not much). As I hit the ground, I not only felt physically wounded but emotionally wounded. I had been betrayed by my favorite piece of furniture. It was later replaced by the piano bench.
When I was in elementary school, my best friend Shannon and I made a post slumber party breakfast feast that covered the wooden table like a still life [in our minds]. We felt like royalty. (Note the scowl again… why did no one stop me from doing that?!?)
One blistery January, I shook the new snowglobe I had been given for my birthday. It had a yellow birthday cake with a candle and played “Happy Birthday to You.” The globe proved to be too cumbersome and awkward for my scrawny self. I shook it right against the edge of the kitchen table. Glitter and liquid gushed all over my broken spirit. Hence my collection of snowglobes always featured one “globe” that was not like the rest.
In fourth grade or so, Erica and I sat at the kitchen table overloading on peanut butter and honey toast, thinking it was the greatest thing since… well, since sliced bread?
When my first niece made her grand debut at my parent’s home, we took turns holding the tiny baby bundle so my older sister could eat a proper breakfast plate using both hands.
Whenever mom would make cookies, they would sprawl over that kitchen table cooling and filling the house with the smell of pure goodness. This still happens!
When I slaved over a furniture project in college, I recalled the simple joints and long wooden slabs of the kitchen table. Why had I not designed something simple?!?
For a while, we didn’t have a dining space big enough to hold the table and all its memories. Dinners around the fancier dining table without its elongating leaves just wasn’t the same. In the meantime, the solid slab table suffered some wear and tear feeding nieces and nephews at my oldest sister’s house. Her recent move south coincided with my parents finally having enough space for a reunion with their table. Another sister reversed the clock on some of said wear and tear, and now the table shines in the sunlight.
I have a slew of memories centered around that table, and though I love the table as an object, its importance does not reside solely in its material existence.
The gestalt of those table memories is the symbol of my family- how we have come together, how we grow and continue to find our way to those benches, to those placemats, to those brunch plates of waffles and most importantly, to each other.