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.