My dining room currently sits empty. Totally empty. I keep saying that after the baby stuff is taken care of, a dining room table is my next priority. Not because I feel the need to fill the space, but because I want to pursue everything a dining room table represents.
For a while, I had a tiny IKEA table in the dining room. It was actually Dan’s until we got married, when it became ours. When Dan and I were in our apartment for those first two years of marriage, this table was perfect. The four-seater was just big enough to fit in the small dining space. It was just big enough for the two of us to sit down for dinner, play a game of Ticket to Ride, or invite another couple over for drinks.
I adore that little IKEA table. For one, it was a steal at $169: real(ish) wood, four chairs, sturdy. It has survived three moves and it still looks new. I’m never far away from someone else sitting at this table with me, often bumping knees or elbows.
It’s at this table that Dan served me our first Valentine’s Day dinner: New York strip steaks, asparagus, and my favorite butter braid coffee cake from Jewel.
It’s at this table that we’ve played countless hours of Dominion, Ticket to Ride, and Nerts.
It’s at this table that we made wedding plans and talked about starting our family and dreamed about future family-dinner traditions.
This tiny table is dear to me, but it looks a little silly in my formal dining room. And truthfully, this tiny table feels a little silly for my dreams and my intentions of showing hospitality, throwing open my door, and hosting friends and family whenever they want to come by. It feels a little silly for the children I hope to have, for the child we’re about to add, for the family dinners around the table that I dream of.
This season of my life is going to call for a bigger table.
My dining room (my whole house, actually) is by no means huge or grand. The ceilings are a standard ten feet tall. There’s no crown molding or wainscotting. The wood floors are mismatched and not at all fancy. I don’t need a grand dining room table to seat sixteen people, with a leaf to squeeze in four more, complete with high-backed chairs upholstered with a plush custom fabric. I don’t need a matching buffet or china hutch, because I’m more of a pass-the-dishes-family-style girl, and also, I don’t have any china to display.
What I need is a table big enough for my growing family, adaptable to high chairs and booster seats, ready to be worn down and chipped and stained with baby food.
I need a table big enough to have my small extended family over for a meal, for our first Thanksgiving with baby girl, for Christmas Eves and Sunday brunches.
I need a table where we’re still maybe bumping knees and elbows, where we don’t have to shout a request for someone to pass the green beans, where stories can be told and retold, where laughter will reverberate up toward the ceiling and float out the windows on cool autumn nights.
I need a table that isn’t beautiful or noteworthy in itself, but that will be made beautiful by the memories I’ll create and the firsts I’ll witness and the joy I’ll remember every time I sit down.