Appreciating the Scars

Our kitchen table is worn. It’s weathered. It’s scratched and marked and mottled with imperfections. It’s not artfully or intentionally aged. There’s no shabby-chic crackle finish or sandpapered paint. It’s simply ragged in the way well-worn items are.

At first, when we inherited the large, solid wood table as recent newlyweds we were pleased. We figured it would suit our needs, at least temporarily, until we eventually refinished it or upgraded.

Occasionally, we’d flip through catalogs and dreamily contemplate which new table to purchase. The flashy trendy set ot perhaps the simpler, classic arrangement? Then, we’d see the prices and close the catalog, turning our minds to what new finish or paint could make our table look presentable. We didn’t have the time to devote to such a task, so we abandoned the flirtation. Glancing down at our patchy table in scorn, its flaws were amplified against the shine of the new.

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Then, came the children. Each child adding paint flecks, scratches, and scuffs to the already unevenly worn finish. As I looked at the bald spots and etching, rough edges and glitter embedded in deep scratches, I became embarrassed. I wanted to hide and cover the marred table. To disguise the wear and tear of its service.

Then, one day, while cleaning the crumbs from the tabletop, I looked up and saw my children’s chairs. I traced my finger along the pink paint left behind from the baby shower for my first child. I felt the fork scratches in front of my middle son’s seat. I saw the grooves left behind by my daughter’s overzealous hand as she’d begun to learn to write her name. Then, I saw the worn patch, the permanently blond spot on the edge of the table where Nonna, my grandmother-in-law, had sat. Her seat at the table was still clearly marked so many years after her death. That’s when I realized: these aren’t imperfections, they’re memories!

Each scar tells a story. Each fleck signals nostalgia. Each worn patch stands as a place marker, mapping the seats of dearest loves.

This table wasn’t flawed. It wasn’t broken. It was beautiful in an organic, simple way. It was strong.

Every day the table served us, absorbing our abuse and displaying our lives in a tapestry of wooden memoriam. It’s not perfect.  It’s loved. It’s ours.

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