While listening to Carrie Underwood sing “My Favorite Things” during the Sound of Music Redeux debacle, I got to thinking about my favorite things. Of course, I thought of the obvious, “you have to pick these things or they take away your mommy card” favorite things: coffee, Downton Abbey, my Fruit Loops, every one of their handmade Christmas ornaments, my wedding pictures and Hubby.
For the record, that is the order in which they are my favorites TODAY and the order might change depending on who has emptied the dishwasher or has kept their mouths shut for five consecutive minutes but that’s not the point. The point is that everyone has a favorite object that is beyond the obvious and that they would run back into a burning building for…hopefully, AFTER their obvious favorites were safe.
At first glance around my house, my non obvious favorite could be memento of a loved one who has passed on: a blanket crocheted by my favorite aunt, a piece of red yarn that used to be on my grandfather’s suitcase, a water color of Fenway Park that used to reside in my father’s office.
Or, it could be a token of one of my hard earned, I’m gonna show this off till I die achievements: a running medal from the worst marathon ever, my nursing school pin, or the keys to the first house that I mortgaged my life away to own. And, if I were speaking for my husband in particular, I honestly think he’d run back into the burning garage to save his 1966 Mustang (and, depending on the day, the Pony might be saved first…).
But My Favorite Thing is none of those.
I have many favorite thing “feelings”: freshly shaved legs on freshly laundered sheets, that moment in a book where, on page 165, the author pulls a fast one you didn’t see coming, and wool socks on a hardwood floor. That moment when you laugh so hard you are completely convinced you will vomit and lose a lung at the same time. When you open your Hulu queue and realize you have TWO episodes of your favorite show waiting for you. The smell of my lilac bush through my kitchen window on a random day in May.
But none of those favorite feelings moments are My Favorite Thing, either. Although, in truth, I *might* consider saving the lilac bush. Might.
My Favorite Thing is my kitchen table.
Yes. The Table.
We purchased our two tone, farm style table 16 years ago on a trip to North Carolina from a guy named Ashton in a place called Furnitureland South. Ashton was a true Southern gent and I’m fairly certain he could charm the fuzz off a peach. His accent was intoxicating: just hearing him say the word “mahogany” made me swoon. We were a young couple looking for a kitchen table that would seat our young family “some day”. Ashton knew just the table and we took our Nichols and Stone table home.
Little did we know, our other souvenir from that trip would prove to be Fruit Loop #1. Memory #1 attached to The Table.
In that first year, I sat at The Table to eat a small meal while 10 months pregnant and about an hour before we left for the hospital for my induction. Fruit Loop #1 had his first taste of rice cereal while sitting in his infant carrier on The Table.
And, we had our first experience at parenting when, while eating dinner at The Table, Fruit Loop #1 screamed through the entire meal and we realized we were in over our heads. Oh, the things The Table could tell you about that first year….
When I look at The Table, I see Fruit Loop #1 sitting on his booster seat, eating chicken nuggets and using a sippy cup.
When I look at The Table, I see Fruit Loop #2 in her high chair giggling at her brother while covered in yogurt and jelly.
When I look at The Table, I see those nights where the Fruit Loops were put to bed early and we sat with a glass of wine in sweet, precious, didn’t come often silence and wondered what in God’s name we were thinking.
When I look at The Table, I see our past.
The Table has seen me pumping breast milk while the fruit loops ate breakfast and the Hubby read the paper.
The Table has seen arguments over eating broccoli that would rival Custer’s Last Stand.
The Table has seen homework assignments, history projects, play doh, coloring, A Valentine Assembly Child Labor Sweat Shop and Sunday breakfasts.
The Table has been host to recipes that the Fruit Loops begged me to make again and some that they begged me to burn (do NOT get them started on what’s known as “Wine Soup” around here. Just DON’T). The Table is our fifth family member when we gather to eat a meal.
The Table has lifted us up during difficult times: when a friend has sat beside it worried about her marriage, when my father died and a friend sat there and figured out my flight arrangements, when the weight of parenting and the stresses of marriage have caused us to be silent across The Table.
The Table has been there during unpleasant conversations with family members and has been there when I just needed to sit and cry when I missed my dad so much it hurt.
Through it all, The Table quietly sat there and recorded the history of yet another memory of our lives.
When I look at The Table, I see the future.
I see discussions over boyfriends and girlfriends, eye rolling over clothing choices and the nights with a cup of tea when our nest becomes quiet.
I see gangly teenaged boys sitting around The Table scarfing down lasagna I’ve made for them after practice.
I see girls playing grown up in their prom gowns recounting all of their exciting moments to me over hot cocoa and cookies. And, God willing, the cycle will repeat itself with grandkids, play doh and booster seats.
I know I will keep The Table for as long as it will yield to the demands of busy family life because The Table is truly My Favorite Thing.
So, if I ever wake in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke, you can bet that my Fruit Loops and Hubby will be safely outside in two point two if I have anything to say about it. But, I am not lying when I say that I would absolutely go back in and save our fifth family member if given the chance. And if Carrie Underwood wants to rewrite “My Favorite Things” to include The Table, that would be okay, too.