Gathering Place

The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous. -Anna Quindlen

There is a lot wrapped up in being a mom.  Tonight I have to say I would call it terrific.  Today was Jordan’s first day of Kindergarten and he told me that he would carry his dad with him in his heart.  He was thrilled that I used some of dad’s hair gel to make him look spiffy for his first day of school.  Grandpa gave him a sharp new hair cut.  He was ready.  I think a highlight for him was riding the school bus.

It was also fun for me to spend the day one on one with Maddi.  She is a treat and I am usually too preoccupied with the day’s commotion to devote quality attention to her.  Her personality is fun and spunky.  I gave her a manicure and she admired it all day long. I kissed her chunky cheeks and said, “I could just eat you up, Maddi!”

My daughter squirmed and replied, “You can’t eat me!  I’m too big.  Look at my head!  It’s big.  See my head!  You can’t eat it!”

I forget that three year olds take everything literally!

I usually ask my kids what their favorite thing of the day was in addition to something that made them sad.  Maddi’s favorite things was playing outside on the neighbor’s swing set and the thing that made her most sad was when she had to take a nap.  Jordan’s favorite thing was riding the bus to school and playing outside.  He told me that nothing made him sad today—everything was his favorite!

My favorite thing?  I made the kids dinner, as usual, by the kitchen island. I stood as they ate, finding a number of things that needed to be put away or cleaned or sorted.  Jordan looked up at me and asked, “Can we eat outside on our new patio table?”

We just had a deck put on our house and we haven’t used it yet for a meal!  I looked at Jordan and said, “Yes!  That’s a great idea.”

I could see two little children’s spirits inflate as they hoisted their barstools outside to set by the patio table (I found a table on clearance, but still have to find chairs to go with it!) Once outside I was no longer distracted by the dishes that needed to be put away in the dishwasher or the stove top I should wipe down. 

I sat at the new round patio table and took note of its circular shape.  It doesn’t feel as lonely as the rectangular table inside the house I thought. A circle keeps going.  It’s hard to define what’s missing in a circle—whose chair is left empty.  This fits.  Our circular table is a new gathering place and I feel welcome here.  This table was meant to seat the three of us and whomever else we invite to join in.  It was the best dinner I have had in a long time.  Probably because I was actually sitting down. But mostly because I let myself be a part of it.

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