Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nights (And Days) of the Round Table

It was only after three out of four chairs had cracks down their centers that I suggested to my husband that we get a new kitchen table.

The table we had was from his grandmother, given to us when she moved west several years ago. We had driven it down from Connecticut in a U-Haul, carried it through a parking lot and up a flight of steps into our apartment.

Now it sat, a little worse for wear, in our kitchen, surrounded by a rotating mix of chairs, most, as I mentioned, dangerously close to bottoming out.

We decided to move the table to our basement where it would support art projects and not need seats. I don’t know if I’ve grown weaker over the years or if carrying it down steps is just harder than shoving it up some, but I stopped midway through the process and found a screwdriver for my husband.

 “Please,” I begged, “disassemble it.”

So, the old, but not antique, table went down in bits and the kitchen sat empty ready for something new. A few days later, men with dollies and actual furniture pads brought a pretty brown and white table and four chairs into the kitchen.

 All of these chairs work, I thought to myself. No longer would we need to test our parental selflessness—which of us should sit in the most broken of the chairs? The kids weigh less, after all, they probably won’t crash through them, but we, on the other hand…. 

No. Those thoughts were gone. And something else was different. The table was round, or with the wings, oval, but still a much different in shape and size than the rectangular one it replaced.

It was cozy, I discovered, sitting a few inches from my four year old. I could hear her crunch her Honey Nut Cheerio’s. When I cut veggies at the counter, my seven-year- old seemed closer to me while she did her homework. The girls talked more during dinner, better able to inspect and then argue over who had the larger slice of pizza.

The round table was, literally, bringing us closer together.

I’ve read more than once that round tables that are a size too small make for better dinner parties and a dinner party is not what I’d call meals with my kids. But the gist of the idea has held true for us: the physical proximity sparks a kind of connection. Things feel, even at 6am, a bit more festive.

The puppy tries to chew the legs of the chairs, and my four year old recently spilled apple juice down the crevices of the table’s wooden planks, christening it with sticky sweetness. I've given up on enforcing my rule for “no coloring” at the table but coloring on the table is still a no-no.

If I’d had known that having a round table would be such a boon, I’d have broken those chairs a long time ago.



This week on The Educated Mom, we look back on some summers that helped us grow up. Add your story, too.





3 comments:

Lunch Box Mom said...

It was only after three out of four chairs had cracks down their centers that I suggested to my husband that we get a new kitchen table.

The table we had was from his grandmother, given to us when she moved west several years ago. We had driven it down from Connecticut in a U-Haul, carried it through a parking lot and up a flight of steps into our apartment.

Tim Morrissey said...

When the nest became empty, we consigned the round table where we'd eaten so many meals as a family to "storage". It's a good, well-made, sturdy table.

Our hope is that it will some day in the not-too-distant future be retreived from storage, to serve the next generation of the family.

Round tables rock.

jcp said...

You made me laugh out loud! “Please,” I begged, “disassemble it.”

You are such a wonderful writer - I saw it EVERY time I read your column.

But I will miss Tim's grandmother's chairs which are the same as my grandmother's chairs (somehow appropriated by a cousin - unrelated to her)....