I went to clean up the dinner table tonight and I stopped short. I grabbed my camera and captured the image.
This is not a pretty photo. Not to most anyhow. But to me, it is everything.
Here you see the dirty dishes abandoned as children were carried upstairs to wash off their newly acquired red skin from spaghetti and meatballs.
Here you see a stack of coloring sheets and a mismatched collection of colored pencils, likely with dull or broken points.
Here you see the last few stragglers of a bouquet passed its prime and an opened computer.
I see these things too. Usually that is all I see. The mess, the clutter, the unfinished work. But tonight something felt different. Dinner was “peaceful” for a change, which in this house means we giggled and sang songs and actually ate the dinner asking for more. Perhaps with the change in mood I had a change in perspective.
Now instead of a mess I saw the leftovers of homemade meatballs I took the time to prepare and that were welcomed into tummies and complimented with “mmms” and “This. Is. Scrumptious mommy.” Feeding is my love language. People gathered around a table eating together, smiling, sharing, partaking. That is my heaven right there.
Instead of the cluttered pile of art supplies I saw a morning spent crafting, side by side next to a girl who is developing her mother’s love of creating. I saw the collection of pretty pencils which still to this day brings me the same giddiness it did on the first day of school opening up the new box of crayons (although truth be told my mother always made me use the old crayons from the year before so I think I am actually just fulfilling the hole from my neglectful childhood.)
Instead of the nagging of unfinished cleaning and writing I saw the reminder of a birthday well celebrated and the anticipation of jumping into a creative process. The flowers are not done shining, the mind is not done creating.
This dining room table is humble in its design. There is no family heirloom or priceless reclaimed wood. The legs are Ikea. The top is prefab wood from Home Depot. But it was artfully inspired by me and lovingly constructed by my better half. So it is already special to us.
But then you add on all the work this table sees in a day. A place of eating, a place of meeting, a place of creating, a place of blooming, a place of inspiring. We listen to the morning news from this table, talk about our adventures at this table. We have blown out birthday candles and welcomed friends and family at this table. I wrote my very first blog post at this table, with many others that followed. This table holds a very important place in our day to day and I can only dream of what it might hold in the future. More mess. More clutter. More unfinished work. But also so many memories.
It’s funny how a slight shift to the day can put your life into a different focus. There’s that light again, focusing its beam on the important parts of life, showing me how to be grateful just when I needed it to.
So thank you, table. You do more for us than I will ever know.