I take a few moments to look at each person gathered around the table. Sophie, Kelsey, Liz, Katy, Caitlin. My people. Those who have known me for years and years and have sat around this table countless time. As much as our high school selves promised we would keep each other updated about all the happenings of our daily lives, we now realize that we each have taken a different windy path into the present moment. And although we don’t all see each other or talk as often as we would like, the one thing that always pulls us back together is the kitchen table. My heart is full of gratitude – I feel content and am slightly in disbelief that I have all of these humans around me at this sturdy table, when just hours before I was a four hour plane ride away.
Caitlin and I talk about the kitchen table often – it has quite literally been a central part of our lives since we were born. It supported our tired bodies on the mornings of elementary school where Gary had to separate Caitlin and I with cereal boxes so we wouldn’t argue over who got the green bowl. It watched us with our friends as middle schoolers, making our weird documentaries and talking about who we thought was cute in our class. It held Caitlin and I every Sunday in high school, heads bent over our books with Terri pulling out the chairs from under us as she cleaned the kitchen. It listened to the after school chatter of high school girls, sipping on grape juice and munching on Goldfish. It withstood the nightly family dinners, the four of us in the same seats year after year – and was strong for us on the tense nights of minimal conversation and relaxed on the nights where everyone was cheery, Gary making himself laugh, Caitlin passionate about something, enlightening us about a new topic and Terri content, observing it all with a smile on her face.
It has wrapped the energies of my friends and held them in it’s comforting grip, allowing us to forget about our worlds outside of this warm and cozy space and inviting us to lean in – to giggle, sip on our wine, and tell fucked up stories.
It has also brought together Gary, Terri, Caitlin and I together – which has become a more rare and cherished occurrence as we get older and farther from home.
A few weeks ago, Caitlin shared with me something she wrote about the kitchen table and I think it is quite a perfect summary of this seemingly normal piece of furniture that has been the center for our lives since we were both born.
“…It is embedded with laughter, jokes, talk of sick nasty topics, late night snacks, and all the crumbs that come with it. It has met hundreds of of Dove chocolate wrappers, Tostitos bags, glasses of water, sometimes sprayed by the person caught off guard by Kelso’s quick wit. The incessant banging of the roll-y chairs on the edge of the table. Grapes & Fritos on Sunday afternoons. Hours of studying. Breakfast with my two sisters – Alison & Liz (with sunglasses) & my third sister’s (Maggie) first canook with her pink blankey and weird red rubber toy. The table that looks onto the beautiful backyard. Through every season. Year after year. That same table that partnered up with my first jumpy chair. My first high chair. My first booster seat. That listed as I asked to watch a ‘moobie’… The same table that watched my dad do the dishes every single night without fail. His few minutes to himself…The table that homemade documentaries were filmed at. Cookies were made, consumed and enjoyed. The table Derek, Terri, Gary, and I sat at. The table Alison, Daniel and I sat at. The table where love developed, blossomed, and ultimately supported the dead weight of my body when it was all over and I couldn’t force myself to stand…The table that is famous for what occurred around it. The small moments of timeless beauty. From the awkward middle school years to the exciting times of high school, through the mind expanding years of college, to this point now. I’m forever indebted to the space the Climes family kitchen table created that enabled the creation of 21 (almost 22) years of memories.”
It is the compilation of all these experiences – of all the small daily interactions it holds along with all the special occasions, too.
I am thankful for all of these memories, but at this very moment, I’m grateful for the present moment – surrounded by these wonderful people seated once again at the kitchen table.