My kitchen table is a collage of my life. At any moment you may find pretty leaves that we picked up outside, a bud vase that houses paint brushes for our watercolors, art projects from school, winter hats, Daddy’s sketch pad and, shock of all shockers, the salt and pepper shakers. Of course, I would not have it any other way; as much as I clear the table (Daily, so we can actually eat our dinner together!), it still makes me smile when I find a random bird feather or a rock. Let’s not even get into the sanitary issue; I shudder to think what has had time to grow on that table between swipes of bleach.
They always say that the kitchen is the heart of the house and I agree wholeheartedly. My favorite thing on Sunday afternoons is cooking a big supper that almost always turns into lunch the next day, my big guy playing play-dough or painting and the little one happily banging wooden spoons on her high chair. And let’s not forget Daddy watching the football game in the next room. Sounds like domesticated bliss, I know. As we all are aware, no one has a perfectly harmonized house all of the time, but when you do get those moments, they sure are special.
My kitchen table also holds reminders of my childhood. It is the same table where I painted, played with playdough and ate my family dinners as a child. There are still paint marks that refuse to go away on the side of the table, a testament to my earliest attempts at being an artist. Family would gather at this table during the holidays and it makes me sad to think of those who are no longer here, but happy to know that I am creating new memories with my little family.
Tradition is important to me, from things as mundane as making sure we all eat together at mealtime (not ordinary to me, but to some) to our special Christmas Eve dinners. I strive to create an idyllic childhood for my children. I know that they will feel fear, humiliation and horror at things that they will encounter in their life, but my greatest hope is that they will be able to move forward from these obstacles and in one piece, based on how we raised them. I don’t want them to be raised in a bubble, but I do want them to know that tradition is important, the past is important and hopefully they will grow up to be loving, kind, compassionate citizens of this country.
I pray that as they grow and learn and go out into the world that they will go with creative and confident minds. That they will have instilled in them a strong sense of family, love and God and also the knowledge that no matter what happens in their lives, they can always come home to their kitchen table.
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