It occurs to me as I clean up lunch this afternoon that, although I don’t have to pack any more lunches until August, I do still have to feed my children three-ish times a day. And provide them with transportation, energy-burning activities, opportunities for continued learning, love, affection, etc. All those things.
I am, admittedly, an occasional summer-hater. With the exception of last summer when all three kids could (mostly, with floaties) swim and no one needed a nap, I have been known to lament the coming of summer, the lack of schedule, the taking-of-three-kids to the grocery store, the willy-nilly of it all. This of course is a great irony(favorite literary device!), because I am so un-type A, so disorganized, so typically not on schedule. All of a sudden it’s 8:30 and we’re just getting home from the pool and all they’ve had to eat is cheezits and bleh, I’ve got to come up with something healthy(ha!) for them to eat before bed. Sometimes it’s popsicles. More often than not it’s pizza.
Today, while we were making a smorgasbord of a lunch, I was reminded of one of my very favorite poems, Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo. It speaks to the importance of the family table, of being together, of seeing the time that we spend as a family as a time of great importance.
It will take you one minute to read, and it’s worth it.
Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
It matters, this fleeting time I have with my kids when they’re small. Even if it’s just eating scrambled eggs together at lunch, coming together for a few moments. And this summer I’ll do my best to make it count.
Check back with me in two months and we’ll see where we are on that.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!