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Gather Round the Table

Our dining table is the the hub of our home, just like in so many families. We gather around it first thing in the morning, just the girls and I, for breakfast. The girl reconvene there, with or without me, throughout the day for coloring, painting, crafting. Again we come together for snacks and lunch and end the day with my husband joining us there for supper.Friends come into our home and, while the children play, my mama friends and I sit with our crafts and our coffee and talk and share at our table. Fabric is cut, puzzles are pieced together, blessings are said and bodies and spirits are nourished.
We keep the table set with a vase  flowers, or perhaps a wooden bowl full of pine cones. My children love picking wild bouquets for our table! They also mimic this in their play table setting, spreading a colorful silk over it and placing a jelly jar of flowers in the middle. I encourage them to set the table as I finish meal preparations. Even the littlest at two years old pitches in. Digging silverware from the drawer and placing a fork at each setting. Another girl places cups and glasses on the table as her sister fills a pitcher full of water.

I ask “Who would like to serve?” and they generally take turns from meal to meal. I sing “This one is for Zoe, please take it to her.”, placing the filled dish in her hands and on and on until, lastly, the server’s dish is set. We sit, hand out cloth napkins and then we sing our blessing. I use a verse familiar to many Waldorf families that can be found in Shea Darian’s book, Seven Times the Sun.

Earth who gives us this food

Sun who makes it ripe and good

Dear Earth, dear Sun, by you we live

And our loving thanks we give.

One doesn’t have to have a religion to show gratitude and pass it on to one’s children.

Only at our supper meal, with my husband, do we light a mealtime candle. The girls bring our beeswax candle down from the shelf and we light it as the blessing is sung. It sets the mood for calm and reverence and highlights what a special time it is that we all, as a family, get a chance to gather here around the table together. Afterwards, with a gentle reminder that dishes set must be cleared as well, the girls clear the table while I wash our dishes. The candle is snuffed and we  move on with the rhythm of the day.

This is how my family honors this space and uses it to bring rhythm, ritual  and reverence into our daily lives. Tell me about your table traditions.

4 thoughts on “Gather Round the Table

  1. julie, what a beautiful post! in my college and post college days, when there never was a living room … the “table ” was always the place we would sit and enjoy our get togethers …most times even now there is no better place to be where we can all turn in around each other at the table and share our activities and our meals….

  2. What sweet post! I love it. We have two tables. One in the kitchen nook that we use in the morning and for family meals. The larger table in the dining room serves for everything else you describe. Both tables get a lot of use. They may be old and beat up but they are much loved!

  3. What a lovely post! Our table is our craft table, art table, game table and of course supper table. We like to have each person share something that happened during their day. Our kids also love to tell jokes and make each other laugh.

  4. Lovely! We have a few blessings that we alternate. We like one that a little friend wanted to do when he was here. “Thank you for this bread, thank you for this butter. Most of all thank you for each other.” We light a candle in the evening as well and always eat as a family. I think it’s so important. My husband is sometimes reluctant as his family didn’t always do this. But I insist and I know he secretly likes it. lol

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