Saturday, May 22, 2010

Some Day, I'll Eat in the Dining Room

It is May 21st and I realized, I have not eaten in my dining room since Christmas and not because we haven't had celebrations or because we haven't eaten. 

Some time between December 26th and today, my dining room table was commandeered to house decorations and cards and the Christmas loot that had yet to be carried off to children's rooms, lost or broken.  That situation lasted about two weeks until school started back up when kids then began using the formal table as a spot to map out projects and leave book bags, papers to sign and sort magic cards for the complex decks they were crafting for tournaments for their dad. 

It then became the resting place for the tree, lights and ornaments because while I'd packed them up by myself, I absolutely refused to carry the stuff down.  I had visions of tripping sending countless ornaments cascading down the stairs shattering and I just vowed I would not do it.  I had enough strong backs that this type of wife/parent potential martyrdom was unnecessary.

Another month passed.  The Blizzard hit, and the dining room became coat, hat, scarf and mitten central, along with a decorative laundry basket filled with shoes.  I didn't have the heart to ask people who had shoveled for a week straight to exhaust themselves yet again so I didn't bring it up. Then valentine projects consumed the room, followed by several projects including a giant clay hot dog, a report on thunderstorms, multiple practice quizzes of multiplication and the state capitals and the tax documentation. Our accountant said the printed enlarged photos of the giant hot dog weren't deductible. 

The Christmas decorations also mind you, were still in their packed boxes in the dining room.  Having pointed out that we were past Ash Wednesday, I proclaimed that all stuff from Advent must be properly stored before Easter could occurr.   Everyone laughed.  Two more weeks passed.

As a kid, it was always a big deal to eat in the dining room. You had to mature to be able to be granted access. Otherwise, you were on the card kid table on special event days. The dining room was sort of off limits to the chaos of childhood. Everyone knew this. But my home seems to have no verboten places; childhood permeates everything which is why I find magic cards in my bathroom when I'm brushing my teeth.

Then, one fateful evening, we were playing hide and seek and my toddler daughter was hiding behind the box with the artificial tree but she was carrying a sippy cup that split open.  The threat of orange juice making everything a mess resulted in a massive movement to get the stuff downstairs.  If I'd have known, I'd have spilled juice myself much earlier in the calendar year. 

But nature abhores a vacumn and thus my kids promptly stocked the table and room with their backpacks and musical instruments.  Easter hit but we'd cooked on the grill and so we ate in the kitchen to allow the grilled lamb and bunny chocolate to be eaten with little lag time.  Baskets were dumped on the dining room table.  The rest of April was filled with softball equipment for the start of the season and the obligatory essays for various last chance to grill you assignments in chemistry, history and social studies and a second wave of magic card decks plus a stack of comics bought with birthday money.  We got to May.  I thought we'd manage by First Communion, but with the SAT that weekend, we were barely able to manage dinner. 

So yesterday, I cleared everything off.  I didn't say anything.  My youngest daughter was the first to notice and immediately sat down to begin drawing.  "On paper!  On paper!  On Paper!"  I insisted and grabbed a cloth to wipe up the damage.  Two other children, similarly inspired, grabbed the art box and began a massive project on the now Tabula Rasa.  But I cleared it off again.  I promised myself, with God as my witness, I'd make it so we could eat at that table again.  That night, when I came back from a quick errand to get milk, I found my children eating dinner my oldest son had cooked on the grill.  The dining room was bare and clean. There were chairs. Our kitchen table was covered with comic books and magic cards and homework and the art box and papers and brushes. 

Guess where the kids were seated?

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

well you wanna keep that art project near at hand while just NEVER know when inspiration a la ketchup may strike!! :-)

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