Table For Two

jan

Table For Two

jan
Thirty-two years ago, my husband and I sat at the table he had just built, enjoying our Christmas dinner. He had designed and built it on the third floor of our apartment house, known as "The House With No Paint", a wood-frame six-apartment complex known for housing seminary students in Ipswich, Massachusetts. I was pregnant with our first baby, due within weeks. As we sat, we wondered aloud, "Who will sit at this table with us? How many children will be here in the Christmases to come? How many future spouses will join us? Will it be big enough? Will we fill it?"

My husband is known for doing any job worth doing in a BIG WAY, so this table was BIG and SOLID, in addition to an intriguing trestle table design. That he could accomplish so much in such a tiny space was remarkable. That we would be pondering our future some 30 years in the future was not unusual. We were just weird that way.

So here we are in 2015 with the future as the present. We were blessed with two amazing daughters, who brought home two loving and hard-working husbands. The table hosted two sets of grandparents for them. With my mother's passing this summer, those grandparents are gone, and my husband and I are now the next generation of Mimi and Papa to the sweet granddaughter we were given this year.

As we anticipate lifestyle changes and the inevitable downsizing, we were thrilled with our youngest daughter's desire to take the table, refinish it, and use it in her home. A table that had seen so many birthday parties, traveled hundreds of miles, supported countless homework and craft projects, and united us again and again over family meals, was now going to have new life and a new story. New nicks, new dents, new initials to be carved, new food hiding in the crevices.

A year ago this week I started a blogpost that was so full of frustration and scathing fury that I couldn't even put my emotions on paper or complete my thoughts. I couldn't share it publicly; I left it unfinished in Blog Post Limbo. Caregiving for my mother with Alzheimer's was a daily unending exercise in pointlessness and anger.  I feared losing my identity in it.

But I didn't. There is real life after caregiving, and during it, even when it feels like it will never end. It will end, and grace will come. New life, new stories, will inevitably win out. Life wants to live.

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