It’s a very basic, oak, round table that comfortably seats four people, but when extended can seat up to eight. There are panels that hold up the sides of the table where two people will always hit their knees. And when the family sits down together for a steak dinner and starts to cut their meat, the whole table shakes. Most times, the table adorns a hand embroidered table cloth. While at others, the table is bare and you can see the water rings from cups that the cats knocked over and heat markings from when I left a hot casserole dish on the table without a hot mitt. I am certain that there is some yellow and black paint on the table from an afternoon of painting shared with friends.
This table was my Grandma Julia’s dining room table. Part of an elaborate dining room suite set that she purchased many, many years ago. I spent many nights having dinner at this table when I was a child, and more time having yogurt and shortbread cookies while playing Chinese checkers with my cousins.
I acquired this table when I moved into my grandparent’s condo after I chose to leave an abusive marriage. I did not have much, so the table was a real blessing. While living back east, following church on Sunday’s, I would have my family over to my place and we would have a large brunch and circle our hands around the table listening to my brother pray the most entertaining prayers that I have ever heard in my life.
Now, the dining room table fills the center of the dining room and is used nightly for family dinner. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to have dinner with my family at the same table that I used to have dinner with my parents and my grandparents. So much history, so much love and so much joy. And did I forget to mention, so very many delicious meals!
My grandma died while I was being treated for anorexia. I never was able to say goodbye to her and that is hard to deal with. But, I feel like she is still alive within me because I have several of her most treasured belongings, one of those including the dining room table.
My grandmother treasured her family. Her house was the place we all gathered nearly every weekend. Every time I decorate the table all fancy, I stare at it and think “Grandma is looking down and she is happy to see that her table is being used in the same way it had been used in years prior.” And the times I sit down with either my family or my friends and we paint, I know that again she is smiling as she was an artist herself.
I miss her. I will continue to fight every day to conquer the demons that try and grasp their hold within my life. I will live a life that I feel she would be proud of. And I will show her everyday that I am not succumbing. I will press on, move past, and honor her legacy.