I went for over two years without a proper table. Oh, I had something that could pass as a table, small, barely enough room for two people, let alone for a dinner with the kids. We had downsized from our 1700 sq. foot house to an RV, and I will say, I somehow found a way to make that tiny table work for impromptu dinners, for a birthday celebration. I kept some folding chairs in the back of the RV in the closet with my clothes, and we would gather around for those moments- good memories and all the creativity it took to make a meal happen without the big kitchen.

The time in the RV was a cozy time. I spent a little more time cooking and cleaning – my daughter had moved out and married in our RV time, our two boys were near but took up residence in their own RV. A taste of independence and a separate roof, but still within a few hundred feet of mom and dad. One thing I started doing in the RV was keeping fresh flowers. I had a dedicated vase and every 1-2 weeks, I would find a new bouquet. For me it was a bit of a simple luxury, a special treat that brightened up our space.

Then there was our upgrade, a 1000 foot rent house. You see we were trying to keep my husband’s business going post covid. He signed the lease on a building and then the next week the world shut down. By selling our house, living in an RV at his shop, we kept the doors open, sometimes quite precariously for three years. Then a major client pulled their project and we closed the doors within a week.

My boss at the time had a rent house available and offered it to us when we didn’t know where to go. RV rent was not cheap and I had reached my limit of living in 400 sq. feet, although I look back and this was a special time for us— difficult, but one that brought us closer together. So my oldest son decided to strike out on his own while my husband, youngest son and I ended up moving to what was the spacious 1000 sq. foot house. But to make that all work, I couldn’t have a table. Instead it was a bar where we plopped a couple bar stools.

Our first thanksgiving in the rent house was exciting – the thanksgiving in the RV didn’t happen, instead we had our family gathering in the conference room at the shop because of space constraints. So having a house once again was a big deal. My husband and I bought an 8 foot folding table at Sam’s Club and I found a autumn colored, plaid table-cloth. Then I searched Facebook marketplace for folding chairs, so we had chairs for our family. It was a really cramped day. We now had a baby in the family, my granddaughter, so in this tiny living room we packed an 8 foot table, family, bonus family that we include if they don’t have their own thanksgiving to be at, and then a carseat and baby parafanalia!

Fast forward to today. We are in what we hope is our forever home. The kitchen is large, the dining area bigger than I ever have had in a house, and then a table for 8. It still isn’t enough as our family is growing with the addition of girlfriends. But that’s okay, we set up that 8 foot table once again in the living room for overflow seating. Really it is not a bad problem to have.

What I learned is that I missed my table. It seemed to be a key component to a household. In fact, I would say, it is a gravitational pull of the home. When I look back at raising my kids, so much of life happened at the table. The childhood years with finger paint, play dough, and colors. I was the free-spirited, creative mom, and so my kids spent much time creating and developing their minds and hands. Then there were the homeschool years where we stacked the books and sat around to learn. That isn’t including the dinners, the birthdays, the holidays, the life that happened around this one part of the house, more so than any other area, because it is tables we gather around, to connect, to support, to teach, to celebrate, and to live.

So let’s see where this blog of mine goes. It’s about gathering around tables. It’s about the fun of cooking and putting food on a table for loved ones. It’s about putting out the fresh vase of flowers to enjoy each day and not just special occasions. It’s about the beautiful details of what is put on a table, the dinnerware, cake stands, platters, linens, all the fun details that transforms our spaces and remembering that beautiful things are for celebrations and the everyday.

Last, and most importantly, it’s about the act of gathering around a table. Because in my studies and in my observations, the most important thing in life is the people who are in it. And I’ve found in prioritizing relationships, most of that work is done at a table. So let’s well consider that maybe we all need to give our tables more priority, and celebrate the beautiful ritual of gathering with our loved ones around a table.