My notebook paper is blindingly white against the golden glow of the pine table, the same table from my childhood. I can remember vividly the afternoon my mom and dad lugged it through the front door and into the kitchen.
"It's already dented."
"It's called distressed. They put those marks there on purpose to make it appear older, more antique-like."
"So it's already wrecked?"
Now, twenty years later, we've distressed the table even more:
black smudges from a centerpiece that got wet and left paint bleeding into the wood;
green streaks from so-called "washable" markers gone wild;
tan gouges from a little person caught testing out her butter-knife cutting skills on the surface;
and even a few pale scratches from a youngster who had gnawed on a corner during a painful season of teething.
Each time I wipe up sticky syrup spots and scrape off glitter-glue glumps, I discover a new stain or scratch.
"Someday, when the kids are grown, we'll sand the whole thing down and refinish it. We'll have a brand new table."
Or maybe not.
This mommy-heart might resist removing all evidence of my kids, heads bent over birthday cards covered with stickers and math homework with pesky numbers that won't add up. I may feel differently a few years from now and choose to keep the memories of hodge-podge craftiness and overly-generous watercoloring.
Perhaps twenty years from now, I'll be sitting at this same excessively distressed pine table with another generation of crafty kids. Another bunch of kids with tongues poking out of the corners of their mouths while they labor over Thanksgiving turkeys covered in glitter glue and another mess of markers smeared across the pine surface.
"Sorry, Nana. I made an oopsie."
"Don't worry, Sweetie. See this big black mark? Your mommy made that oopsie years ago."
A memoir of 385 words inspired by the word pine and by our kitchen table, our gathering place.