Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Table

We have this table in our kitchen that is probably close to 20 years old.  It's an oak table with a leaf in the center. The table will easily seat 6 and can seat up to 10 or so when extra folding chairs are placed around it. Our oak table has served countless meals to our family with high chairs pulled to its side. As the years passed, booster seats were added to the chairs so the kids could reach their plates. As the kids grew, many a class project or homework assignment was done around that oak table.  Our table has offered its' service as a resting place for foods like pizza or hot ham and cheese sandwiches that the teens would snack on after singing praises to our God on the first Sunday nites of the month for the last 10 years.  That oak table has also hosted many a conversation, some serious and some not-so-serious for many, many years. It has even been the place where events of long ago have been revealed by some of our kids. They would typically begin with something like, "Did I ever tell you about the time...".

A couple of weeks ago, I took the leaf out of that oak table. Tim and I no longer have the need to have the larger table in our kitchen anymore with just the two of us at home now. I actually took the leaf out a few days before Mikayla, our youngest, left for college.  She didn't like it.  It was not okay to her for that large oval table to now be a small, round table.

But it wasn't the size of the table really that mattered.  It's what the table represents - that table that has been a part of our home for as long as our children can remember. I would be telling less than the truth if I said it didn't sadden me just a bit to see its shape change from oval to round. It seems that taking the leaf out gave the whole situation a sense of finality.  Tim and I really are in the "empty nest" phase of our life. That's so hard to believe!

It's such a strange feeling with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I'm so thankful that my children are growing and learning and leaving. I wouldn't want it any other way, really. I'm grateful for the kind of human beings that they are working on becoming -"remembering their Creator in the days of their youth". I'm grateful of the fact that I do believe they have come to understand that walking with God doesn't make the difficulties of life go away but it does make them bearable and that sometimes, here on earth, it's just not going to get any better than that ...bearable. I hope realizing that puts a longing in them for a place so much better.

On the other hand, the house is quieter, the closets are more empty, the table is smaller. All of that kind of leaves a void but I'm working to fill that void with useful, good things. I would never want to waste this time of my life resenting the fact that my children are no longer at the physical place where they grew up. The place where they really are and will always be is a place that can't be seen with the eyes but only felt with the heart.

For now, the extra leaf for the table is in a cool, comfortable resting place waiting for the time when it's pulled out again and put to work. Who knows?  Maybe even decorating cookies or coloring with grand kids?  I'm looking forward to that time when I can expand it again to it's rightful size!


Anonymous said...

aawww Bev, they'll still be coming back. You'll have to put it back in when their all there at the same time! They've left, but that's the natural process(I know that you know
that). :) Mikayla may be back when she's done. Don't know what she has in mind to do, but you just never know how things will work out. Their healthy and happy, and I know that's what you want for them. Love you!
P.S. Not too much longer and I'm coming for coffee!

Anonymous said...

above was by me: Angela L.

Anita J said...

I wish you well in finding projects you want to do as an empty-nester. Don't be surprised if it involves putting that leaf back in and using your table for those noble causes. My dining room table serves me well in that regard.

Linda A. said...

Beverly, it has been such a pleasure watching your family from across the street. Not as a Gladys Kravitz, but as one who smiles at the comings and goings. Your faith shines so brightly and your example of love to your family is nothing short of spectacular. It's no wonder that I always think of you when I read Proverbs 31 - you are that lady, right down to dressing your family in scarlet (or crimson). I look forward to the day that the street is lined with cars again - cars full of your babies and their babies coming to find their special spot around that table.

Bev. said...

Oh Linda. Thank you for such sweet, sweet words. I think all of us moms have a love that is unmatched by anything else for our kids and I think we all feel very inadequate at times, me included. I too look forward to the day when the street is lined with cars of all of our "neighborhood babies".

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