Though it’s been over two decades, I remember gathering around my grandma’s table for Sunday supper like it was yesterday. Kindness and laughter were on the menu, and love was served right alongside mountains of mashed potatoes and pieces of cherry cheese pie. There’s nothing like a table full of food enjoyed with loved ones, and for over a year, I have missed having a table to call my own.
Our old apartment couldn’t fit either of the tables (or, as I like to think of them, memory makers) that I once owned. Downsizing was no joke …clothing, couches, recliners, lawn equipment, a grill…I didn’t bat an eye at these things being welcomed by their new owners. The tables, however, were a different thing entirely. I remember blinking back tears as I saw them disappear down the road. I wondered when I’d own one again but then smiled knowing it wasn’t the thing I was missing after all, but rather, the feeling of family. Was my family gone? Not really. Just one member. Family trees are made up of leaves, branches and roots. It turns out my ex husband ended up being a branch. We spent many seasons of life together, but he wasn’t destined to endure the hardest winter. My son and sister? Not branches at all. Instead, they’re the strong and stable roots that hold the tree upright and help it stand tall. For months, Charlie, Sam, and I made due with a coffee table as a makeshift gathering place. Our friends and family made themselves at home and never seemed to mind plopping themselves on the floor to join us in writing our new chapter. We served up bell pepper pasta, chicken and dumplings, steak…heaps of goodness. But the main dish was usually resiliency, and the dessert was always a sweet mix of hope and peace.
Tomorrow, I’ll have a friend over to our new place. We’ll recall lunches of the past at my old house and the hours of chatting while a baby crawled under our feet. We’ll reminisce about times in a previous apartment where prayers over a caped crusader were answered. Then, as we sit at my new table, we’ll welcome the delicious scent of fresh baked goodies and marvel at what a treat it is to let go/regain and end/start anew. As we part ways, we’ll find happiness in knowing it won’t be long before we gather around once again as we find joy in the simple things.
I can’t give enough thanks to my brother, David, for being another root on our tree!