“Mommy, let’s color,” she would say and go get her plastic pencil box filled with crayons. I’d pull out construction paper and other supplies and sit down at the table with her. She would stand 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 newly-single mom. We spent many hours at that table, creating pictures and sharing meals.
A long slab of oak, the table has always been one of my favorite pieces of furniture. In my young-married days, it 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 too big, really, but I didn't care. I placed it in front of the window so we could look out onto the back yard, the patio, and a green turtle sandbox large enough for her and a tiny friend.
The table was a casual, no-frills piece, and I wanted to use it and enjoy it fully. I decided I wouldn't worry if paint or glitter got on it. I'd protect it, of course, but if any stray marks made by little hands escaped my efforts, I would be okay with that.
Those little hands created dozens and dozens of pictures and paintings, using watercolors, washable markers, crayons, stickers, glitter glue, Elmer’s glue, and glue sticks. Almost all of which could be wiped off or pulled up from the table if she happened to miss the paper.
I would occasionally draw balloons or stick figures with yellow hair and dangly earrings. But mostly, I would write messages about how much Mommy loved her and add a heart or two. Red ones were my specialty.
Then Mr. Mart came along and joined us there for some art sessions and meals. On Halloween, when she poured out her candy and started sorting it into categories, Mr. Organized was completely charmed. Soon he became Mr. Right.
That was years ago. All those pictures she made back then were the beginning of a love of creativity, the arts, photography, and design.
In our current house, 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 downstairs in the basement rec room against the wall. In its simple beauty, it stands ready to serve in any capacity, whether for sorting projects or wrapping gifts.
Recently I noticed a new, long scratch along the surface, probably caused by scissors during a last-minute gift-wrapping frenzy. It pained my heart a little and made me wish we'd had a pair of kids’ scissors that can't cut more than one sheet of paper at a time.
And since my daughter will be heading to college--design school, actually--in two weeks (!), just thinking about 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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Crayon box photo courtesy of Evan Kirby at Unsplash.com.