We purchased a beautiful oak farm style table in Minnesota that kept us gathered whether we were eating, crafting, homeschooling, visiting etc. It was a center focal point in our cozy, open floor plan and our lives as it created space to live and thrive. I cannot think of one day passing without sitting around the table doing our familiar family routines. My fondness for this table (really the memories of the people gathering) has grown over the years and the heavy solid oak table was moved with us to Texas in 2006.
One memory that upset me terribly became a endearment to me with time. It involves my younger daughter with seriously thick markers that were Sharpie permanent and a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Christmas coloring book. She was sitting at the table busy working on her picture with a red marker going to town on Rudolph’s nose. I noticed she didn’t use a placemat and to my fear when we lifted her drawing there was a big red nose surrounded in black engrained into the oak table. This child had the habit of outlining all her drawings in black to help her stay in the lines not so wonderful at this moment! My poor little one realized the damage done as I could not contain my anger. Asking her questions that really didn’t matter now and finding it difficult to hold back my frustration/anger I left the room. My husband never really said a word to our daughter. He listened to my frustration and asking for any solutions to remove the nose. He helped scrub the table for me, but actually he was more amused by the situation and so rightly put “things” in their place. It was a non-issue to him and that man taught me that day. I told my daughter that each time I scrubbed it was coming off and we all have accidents and make mistakes and how great was it that when company came the placements covered the nose. I’m sure she didn’t care about the company part and placements but was relieved to see her mother back and honestly letting go. Who would have known that as the years went by endearment to that nose would grow. I didn’t worry about covering it up and every once in awhile someone would comment or inquire and we would just laugh. I found that with every scrubbing it faded more and then I felt like I was losing something that I had come to accept and even cherish because it was made by my daughter’s hands. After meals I began wiping more lightly by that nose. Occasionally when taking tea breaks my glance would capture the nose (now more like a blob) and my reward would be the smile forming on my face.
Not too long ago I was helping the same daughter stamp her mission cards with a rubber ink stamp of a cross. I placed the stamp ink side down on the tabletop not thinking and surprisingly with no pressure placed on the stamp the table now bore a bold purple cross with scrolls. My daughter and I just looked at each other, smiled, and then laughed. I tried scrubbing off the cross but had the same results of the fresh nose. I didn’t feel too bad as we had been down this road before and I had been seriously wanting to paint the table for three years. This added to my motivation, but I do want to say I like the idea of the cross and nose not being gone just covered by paint.
When we moved to Texas our kitchen table did not fit in our kitchen so it became our dining room table. Again this piece of furniture was a focal point in our daily meals and activities. I like to decorate and felt the spindled chairs were not quite right for a dining room setting, but since we did not have a budget to purchase chairs I was content to visualize what the room may look like one day. I loved the simplicity of the farm table design and could imagine high back wooden chairs with soft seat cushions beckoning myself and others to linger. We are a family that gathers round the table and when my husband passed away from cancer we stopped gathering. It is painful to be reminded that someone is missing, eating felt like a chore, and it was uncomfortable for each of us without seeming to get better. We began bringing plates to couches in the family room, our bedrooms, and small table in kitchen. I thought about painting the table so that the room could look and feel different. The goal of grief is to get to the other side and I desired for us to be found comfortably at that table again. The girls thought it was a good idea and we began a search for unique wooden chairs that could replace the spindle ones. Our search ended with one chair and my neighbor jokingly said you found the best one first how ever will another compare. She was right. With no more chairs found and Annie Sloan chalk paint purchased it would be another year before the table would be painted. I didn’t even know the day had arrived to paint until I brought my youngest home from having her wisdom teeth removed. I was held at home and had some anxious energy and remembered the paint and before I knew it my eldest was helping me lay plastic under the table.
TIME TO PAINT–Read next post for my process of hand painting and distressing the farm table.