Never have I taken the time to think of the significance of the kitchen table in my life, but I have come to realize that my kitchen table has always been a place to unwind and share with my family members. From childhood to my adult hood, I have always come to the kitchen table in celebration, conference, in search of security, and enjoyment. The kitchen table of the past always brought my family together, and the table in my present brings focus to my school work and an occasional “catch up” conversation with my family, and in the future I hope to have a similar kitchen table setting as I did in my childhood, but with my own style.
I grew up in a crowded 3 bedroom house with 3 siblings and my mother, who I hardly saw because she worked all the time. I spent most of my childhood running up and down my street with the other neighborhood children. I mostly remember the long summer days when I played tag, hide and seek, basketball, foursquare, and water balloon fights with my friends on our street. My mother would rather have had me and my 3 siblings outside playing all day, instead of making a mess inside her tidy house.
Once the sun began to go down behind the rooftops and the sky changed from a bright light blue to a tan orange and pinkish color, I knew it was time to go home. My mom had me wash up before I sat at the kitchen table. The table was a long wooden table that seated 6, but it also could be converted to just four by dropping down the two sides with a switch lock. It was a long round rectangular shaped table, and the chairs were uncomfortable to sit in.
My mother always covered the table with a layer of table cloth that matched the current season, and plate mats on top of the table cloth in front of each seat. There was always a rooster centerpiece in the middle of the table and a bowl of fake fruit next to it. There was a napkin dispenser that did not match the salt and pepper shakers, or the rooster center piece. All the items were cheap thrift store items my mom was attracted too, but the items never had a matching theme. They were just all thrown together.
I never noticed the décor before, but that is what I can remember from my past. The food was always the star of the kitchen table. It always was a place of security and celebration with plenty of food and desert to eat. My sisters and I would share our daily experiences at the kitchen table, and it was the only place my family would gather together. Before we ate, my mother had us sing our ritual song in tagalog, “ang sarap ng luto si mami! ” which translates to, “how tasty my mommy’s food is! Currently I live with my mom in her new 4 bedroom house, which is much larger than the house we lived in before. She still has the same large wooden table that seats 6, but she has learned to have more stylish centerpieces and matching salt and pepper shakers. There are no tacky table cloths or plate mats to protect the kitchen table anymore because we are adults and can eat properly of course. We occasionally get together at the dinner table if one of my sisters, my mom, or myself find time to cook, or we would just pick up some fast food and eat it at the table.
We still discuss our daily experiences at the table, but not so often as before. Now we use the table to study most of the time and it is covered with back packs, college books, papers, snacks, our laptops, and rarely with a traditional planned dinner. In the future, I hope I can have a combination of a stylish kitchen table with 6 seats all filled with family members, may it be my own future husband and children, or my sisters and their children. I want to have the dinner table set for my family and enjoy gathering together to talk and unwind from the days we experience.
I want laughter and delight from my kitchen table, and for it to symbolize togetherness and something special to be a part of. Reflecting now upon my thoughts about my kitchen tables, I now realize the connection I feel towards my time spent there. Since childhood to the present time, and now thinking toward the near future, I can truly say that I appreciate the significance of my kitchen table and will spend a big portion of my private live there with a select few people.