With Christmas wrapping and card-writing to do, I've ended up at our dining room table a lot lately. It's a flat surface in a handy spot and I don't need a lot more right now from a piece of furniture. It works.
We bought this table about two years ago and it still seems new. I try to avoid scratches or any kind of damage to it that I can. Using it for this Christmas work has even caused me some concern. We bought our old table from the previous owners of the house. It was their kitchen table and had visible marks on it from where their dog had chewed it. I don't know what it says about us that for about 15 years we had furniture that was damaged by a pet that wasn't even our own. But, we took our time and now we have a table we like. So far, our pets haven't chewed it.
A while ago, my brother and his family visited from out of town. We love company from out of town and don't get nearly enough of it. Because of the larger number of people in the house, we ate all meals at the dining room table when they were here. It was really nice having everyone gathered around it. At one point, there was concern that the heat from a pizza box (I didn't say we had fancy meals - just that we ate in the dining room) had marked the table. Nobody wanted that to be the case. At some point, though, I realized that it was ok if we had marked the table. As people gather around it and eat, talk, laugh and maybe cry, the table serves its purpose. As time goes on, it develops its patina from the meals held at it, and the people who come to sit at it. It is not the table itself that matters - the one with the dog chew marks did work quite well for 15 years after all - but the moments of life that get lived at it. I cherish these and maybe a mark or two will help us recall these moments.
This year, a Christmas dinner will be held at the table. As long as we can pull everything together, there will even be a turkey. I'm not going to encourage people to carve in the table or pour boiling hot liquids on it but if a mark or two gets left behind, that's fine. It's part of the life of our table and our family. Perfectly imperfect and that's fine with me.