Friday, May 14, 2010

It Makes Me Smile

My son's first pediatrician had seven children. I remember him once telling me that he hardly spent anything on furniture and that his house was sparsely decorated. At first I thought this was odd. I figured since he was a doctor, his home should look like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog. It wasn't until my son got older, and the girl came along, that I realized how smart he was. Why spend thousands of dollars on stuff when it's all going to get so scuffed up, marked on, dented, and well..........used?One of the things that gets regularly used in my home is my dinner table.We bought it at Ikea about five years ago right after we moved into our house. My mom and her then-husband were living with us and we wanted a big table that the whole family could eat at comfortably. But we wanted to spend less than $500. Fortunately, Ikea is wonderful for that kind of thing. I don't remember exactly what it cost, maybe $300. I think the chairs were $29 a piece. Anyway, some ridiculously low price for the whole set.Now that our family-and our home-is smaller, the table gets used even more. Not only for eating but for homework, crafting, fabric cutting, reading, bill paying, mail checking, etc. This table isn't just a dinner table anymore, but a living table. It's routinely cluttered with all the stuff of family life. When meal time comes around, the table is big enough that we can shove all the books, bills, and artwork to one end and still have enough room for us all to eat.

There are times I'd love for all that clutter to be gone. The table would look so nice polished up with just a colorful fruit bowl in the middle. But I know that isn't realistic. Certainly not right now, and probably never. I've learned to love the clutter of the dinner table. It makes me realize what I've got. It makes me smile.

12 comments:

hester said...

This post was just what I needed. I spent a while last night before I fell into bed putting away ALL the stuff on our dining room table so I could get up to a clear space. But next time it is full of "life" I'll just think of you and smile and be grateful for a full life.

Dani said...

We always had a cluttered dining table when growing up.

My table stays clear...but the end of our kitchen counter has been known to catch a few items from time to time.

I'll admit to liking the table when I do drag out the sewing machine and have fabric, buttons, scissors, pattern pieces, etc. spread about.

Tammie said...

heather: our lives would be so empty without it, wouldnt they?

Theresa said...

Ha! I love that I have a bigger table now for the very same reasons. While occasionally I will clean everything off and set up a pretty center piece, it never stays that way for long before it's covered in paper and crayons and mail and toys.. and just well US.

melissa s. said...

I always tell my kids: take care of this furniture because you're taking it with you to college (which makes me feel better when my son carves a star wars character into our coffee table...)

Hey! The NE Sunday Parkway is tomorrow. The city sections off a loop of streets for a fun, family-friendly bike (or skate, or scooter, or non-motor-whatever) route & activities. I know it's a trek for you, but you should check it out if you don't have anything else going on:
http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46103
(and call me if you do, we can meet up now that we all recognize each other ;-)

kraftykash said...

It does look like a fun place to hang out at. :)

CT said...

I really like how small things are alike no matter where you are... a living table was and is a staple at our home! by the way, I like that name, a Living table

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Tammie you just gave me a new way to look at my "table"
Actually for me it's the kitchen island where we eat, lay the mail, work, make dinner,last week crafting - you know just like you -we live at that island like your table and it is never completely clear. I am going to make a conscious decision to look at this all differently.
It will certainly help the stress.

Thanks! Great post.

R.H. Ducky said...

i really love your "it makes me smile" posts. i think this was such a wonderful idea. thanks for sharing your smiles, and for making me smile.

Daphne said...

Your new home looks so cute!!

Family tables are meant to be cluttered. Or you could do what we did when I was growing up -- just move everything to the buffet next to the table. Problem solved!

Lia said...

I don't think my clutter has ever made me smile. It is a thorn in my side, my arch nemesis, the bane of my existence. But you're right. It exists because of our lively family, and that always makes me smile.

Tammie said...

honestly, i used to feel the same way. but ive stopped fighting it.