Growing up, my family had every meal around a table. Other than a few times when I was left alone, much later in my life, we ate every meal at that table. It’s the same one my parents still use today. It is a rectangular table with rounded edges, two sturdy legs held it up right, supported by a bar between them, with two bench seats. The thing is rustic and sturdy.
As I grew older I got away from eating at a dinner table. Melinda and I ate our meals in front of the TV like so many do. But when we realized we were bringing another little mouth into our home, one of the first things I swore to do was to get us back around the table. And today we accomplished just that.
Just over a year has gone by since we pledged to continue the tradition of eating at the dinner table. After finishing laying the tile in our dining room the first thing we did was to go down to the barn and dig out the table and its two chairs. Just perfect for the three of us right now, since our daughter is still in a highchair. As she gets older and outgrows the highchair I will eventually figure out plans for some hardy benches just like in my parents’ home.
Our table is nowhere near as solid as the one of my youth. But, that is not to say it is rickety either. It is like so many other things in this age of “quantity over quality”: good enough. I picked it up from my parents’ neighbor one day a couple months back when my dad had mentioned the neighbor had a table in his outbuilding.
Melinda and I had been pining over a table on display at Wal-Mart. It was similar in a lot of ways to my parents’ table. It had two sturdy legs at either end of the table made from crossed 4×4 posts. It was $160…without chairs. The chairs were $40 each. Another $160. So for just over three hundred bucks we could have our very own family tradition. Then my dad intervened.
He had mentioned it to me after I talked to him about the table at Wally World we had been coveting. So we walked over and asked to see it. It was a mostly white table with four legs, the top is made of ceramic tile with the edges of the table being a lightly stained wood and two chairs. It was a pretty nice table. But how much?
After a little small talk I finally just came out and asked, “what do you want for it?” he pondered for a moment and asked $10. I couldn’t pass it up. Even with Melinda hanging back with my mom and not seeing the table, it was too good of a deal to just let it go. So taking the risk of my lovely (but often picky when it comes to furnishings) wife not liking it I forked over the ten bucks before he could change his mind, and took it home to store in the barn.
Over this past weekend we laid self adhering tiles over our dining room floor in preparation of welcoming our table into our home. We had noticed how much better our daughter does while sitting in a highchair pulled up to a table at a restaurant and realized it was time to get back to the table-side. So this evening we had our first meal as a family around our own dining room table. We turned the TV off and left our phones in the living room and simply enjoyed the meal and each other’s company.
In a society that is addicted to the rush of day to day life, it can be difficult to find time to spend with family without distraction. It is a welcomed change from the rat race to be able to sit with those closest to you and just enjoy the moment. And with any luck this will be something our little one longs to pass on to her kids when she is older and wiser. And she can look back and appreciate the story of the humble dinner table she spent every meal around with her family.