When we lived in The Village many years ago, we lived next door to an elderly gentleman who we grew to love dearly. He was a very sweet man with a quick wit and a vibrant sense of humor. My kids adored him and so did we. When he passed away, we were all heartbroken. In the days and weeks following, we got to know his immediate family a little bit better. These amazing people gifted us with a wooden table from his house that had spent decades in his kitchen as a gathering place for family events and meals. It was a small and simple kitchen table, but it had a big heart. We were honored to receive it and have spent the last several years making our own memories around it. Around this table, my kids have gone from highchairs to booster seats to feet fully touching the floor. They’ve bowed their heads and said their first meal time prayers around it. They’ve spilt orange juice all over it. We’ve laughed and cried around it…played never-ever-ever-ending games of Chutes & Ladders on it. It has become a part of us.
When we moved into our new home, there was no longer a place for this table that was full of wonderful sentiments. It was hard to think of selling it or giving it away because of the emotional attachment we had with it, and because of the memory of the man we had received it from. We moved all of the other boxes and furniture inside, but this kitchen table stayed out in the garage. For weeks it sat there, no longer the center of our family life, no longer the heart of our happy home. It gathered dust and held all the folded and emptied cardboard moving boxes up against the wall. I couldn’t help but think it looked forlorn in its corner- all by itself.
Meanwhile, as we were settling in to our new home, there were a few things I was beginning to realize that we needed. One of those things was a coffee table for our cozy family room. I wanted something simple, something wooden, something square. I scoured the internet for weeks looking for just the right thing at an affordable price. I checked all the local thrift stores and used furniture shops. Nothing was jumping out at me. Nothing was screaming, “I am the one! Buy me! Buy me!” This coffee table I was on the hunt for needed to be sturdy. It needed to be able to withstand three growing boys and their shenanigans. It needed to be a place for homework and card games and holding Santa’s cookies and milk by the fireplace. It needed to be strong enough to support the bustle of our growing family buzzing all around it. It was going to be in the middle of it all.
That’s when it finally hit me.
Our precious old kitchen table abandoned in the garage, could it possibly be the one? Could it actually be the coffee table I had been searching the city high and low for? Maybe the reason I hadn’t been able to find anything before was because… I already had it? I ran the idea by my husband one night. Would it even work? Was I crazy to think of it? Can kitchen tables even become coffee tables?
He immediately loved the idea and got right to work, like a handsome worker bee armed with a table saw. Our beloved table was going to have a new home- in our very own house!
After some quick measuring, cutting and reattaching, it was ready. I wiped all the dust off and we welcomed it right back into the center of our lives again. It may be a few inches shorter, but its heart is somehow even bigger than before. This table has taught me to be resourceful once again. It has taught me to think creatively about what I already have. And it has taught me that sometimes sentiment and memories make a thing worth hanging onto, and worth fighting for.