“Mommy, let’s color,” she would say and go get her plastic pencil box filled with crayons. I’d pull out construction paper or printer paper and other supplies and sit down at the table with her. She would stand or sit on her knees in the chair, lean on the table, and hold a worn-down crayon between chubby toddler fingers. “I’m making our house and that’s me and this is you and here are the doggies…”
She was a preschooler; I was a single mom. We spent many hours at that table, her creating, me encouraging, me grateful to have her light in my life.
A long slab of oak, the table has always been one of my favorite pieces. Her dad and I bought it when we married, along with four matching Windsor-style oak chairs and a bench that could seat two. In those early days, the table sat in the dining room mostly unused.
But several years later, when my little girl and I moved into our new place, I put the table in the kitchen. It was a casual, no-frills piece, and I wanted to use it fully. I placed it in front of the window looking out on the patio, flower pots, and a green turtle sandbox large enough for her and a little friend.
The table was too big for the breakfast nook, which was more like a breakfast nooklet. But I didn’t care. I loved it and the bench and decided I wouldn't worry if it got paint or glitter on it. I would take precautions to protect it, but if any stray marks made by little hands escaped my efforts, it was okay by me.
She would sit on her knees in the chair and draw. She created dozens and dozens (and dozens) of pictures and paintings, using watercolors, washable markers, crayons, stickers, glitter glue, Elmer’s glue, and glue sticks. All of which could be wiped off or pulled up from the table if she happened to miss the paper.
During that time, I went through a couple of short-lived craft phases when I realized that shopping for supplies was more fun than actually doing the crafts. But I did sometimes work on those things while she colored or painted.
I would also occasionally draw balloons and stars and stick figures with yellow hair, enormous heads, and dangly earrings. More comfortable with words, I would write her messages about how much Mommy loved her and illustrate my point with a heart or two. Red ones were my specialty.
The table supported many an art project and simple meal for the two of us.
Then Mr. Mart came along and joined us there for some art sessions and meals. And at that table, she sorted her Halloween candy into categories, which completely charmed Mr. Mart (also known as Mr. Organized).
That was years ago. Now we have other tables that we use regularly: a small round one in the kitchen for our threesome and a large one in the dining room for company.
The old table is down in the basement rec room. Against the wall, it stands ready, in its simple beauty, to serve in any capacity, whether for sorting papers or other projects. Recently I noticed a long scratch on it, probably from the scissors during a last-minute Christmas gift-wrapping session.
It made me wish we'd had a pair of those kids’ scissors that can't cut anything thicker than one sheet of paper.
And since my girl is now a high school senior, just thinking of those scissors makes me wish for the days when she used them.
Days when a little girl and her mommy sat at an old oak table, painting with watercolors, coloring with crayons, and drawing hearts. Together.
Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? Why? Is it the design, the style, the function, or the memories associated with it? You know I want to hear all about it, so leave me a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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