Tuesday, February 7, 2017
traditions on Tuesday
Ever since our kids were little bitty, we have eaten dinner at the dinner table. I was raised this way, Todd was raised this way, and it's something we wanted to do with our kids. As I talked about parenting teenagers yesterday, and the ever shifting and changing of how that looks, we have revised this tradition over and over throughout the years.
When they were young, we knew that dinner every night would not be a neat and orderly affair, and we knew it would be loud and short on some nights, depending on how tired they were. They knew how to sit still through the prayer, though, and they were encouraged to eat whatever I made for them. There are some things I know they don't like, and while I won't be a short order cook for them, they're told to try things and to never ever ever complain about the food set before them.
What better example of a precious little toddler/threenager than this little Annalise?! This is my best friend's daughter.
They also sat at the table for snacks, for activities, for helping out in the kitchen, and for projects that required hammering.
Seriously. Our table has huge nail marks because one afternoon, Trish (my sister) and I thought it'd be fun to build the little sailboat kits the boys had gotten from Lowe's. What should have been a thirty minute project turned into a two hour affair and a table newly designed with extra character. To this day, I see those nail marks, and run my hands over them, and laugh.
This sounds sweet doesn't it?
It was not always, I will confess that. It was often messy. I often would just about blow my gasket if Drew or Noah spilled more on the floor than they put into their mouths. It was so loud sometimes, with voices raised, competing for the attention of whichever parent was doing the better listening (often this was Todd). The hassle of getting the food onto the table, or the plates loaded with food onto the table, was often bothersome. Tea was spilled so much that we probably have permanent sticky spots on the legs of our old table.
Even though this was sometimes more trouble than seemed necessary, it was worth it, because it instilled in them the value of sitting and enjoying a meal with family surrounding them. Now that they're so much older, we often sit and laugh over antics told from their day.
You can probably tell that last sentence is true just by looking at this picture. They are always up to something, these boys of mine.
Our table that is so old and desperately needs refinishing is probably my favorite piece of furniture in our house. It's where I start my day with Jesus in the mornings. It's where the bible is studied, schoolwork is completed, tears are shed, laughter is heard, all the hands and feet of those I love most seemingly etched into the woodwork.
Oh, wait...maybe that's just where Drew missed his mouth last week and dribbled milk all down himself and everywhere.
Sometimes even when it's just Todd and me, we still sit here together while we eat alone, or where one of us eats and the other keeps company. On special occasions, games are played upon the surface, while we once again complain about the finish needing to be stripped and stained, while the cards stick to the surface.
It's beautifully imperfect, our table, and really what I love most about it are the memories that we've made there. As they get older, our nights together get fewer and fewer. I have to schedule big meals to cook nowadays, making sure that everyone will be home when I make the good dinners. I pray that someday my boys will continue on in this tradition. I pray that this memory is one they will always cherish as they think back upon these years. I know I'll hold them in my heart for all of my days.
(Mom, if you're reading this, thank you for teaching me this most important tradition. Every single meal I ever ate, I ate at the table. Dinner elsewhere in the house was reserved for special occasions, or on nights when we just wanted to be lazy...but really, I hardly remember that ever happening. You were and still are and always will be an awesome mom. I love you.)
Love to all.