I saw this hanging up in a neighborhood coffee shop last week. It triggered something in me. Nostalgia, perhaps. Not about the dinner table so much, but about the colorful plastic letters with magnets that I had as a child. The ones that you stuck to the refrigerator drawer and spelled words with – at least words that didn’t have duplicate letters in them. It bugged me that my name had two i’s in it and I had to substitute the number 1 for one of the i’s. My sister had an even longer name – eight letters, but no duplicates. Totally unfair. I think we even had a set of these cards where you would place the magnetic letters in the corresponding slots and spell words like eat and dog and hot, but never mom or dad or see.
Right after I took this picture a plate of french toast arrived, dripping with maple syrup and covered in apple slices and warm, plump raisins. One plate, two forks, lots of napkins. The little one and I dug in and later wiped the sticky goodness off every finger and flat surface. We eat together. It’s messy, and not always syrup drenched and apple topped. Sometimes it’s aggravating, sometimes it’s a chore. There are always dishes to wash and napkins to launder and tables to wipe and floors to sweep. The adults prefer to linger, talk and eat slowly. The eight year old prefers to linger, talk and eat even more slowly and much more particularly. The two year old gets in and out and onto other business. And she’s not very quiet about the other business part. When she’s done, she’s done.
Still, we eat together. Most every night, and every morning. Around our table, and around the tables of the places nearby we love to visit. No matter how messy and loud the table may be, I’m glad to share it with this family of mine.