remaking the broken at nautilus teachings


can you remake
the broken?


when my mother
got a job in 1973
the first thing she bought
was an antique table
with her own money…
it was over 100 years old then,
so that makes it 144 years old,
it took me nearly 27 years
to get it from my father…

why did he hold onto it?

only he can truly answer that,
but i can tell you
the day he came home
and saw his formica table gone
and this beautiful
hand carved one with matching chairs
sitting in the dining area
he blew up…

he demanded to know
where HIS table was
he made her feel small
and worthless
throwing out the ugliest
of accusations
and demanding
she return this table
and get his back…
although he hurt her deeply
and she cried for a long time
she still stood up to him
and said,
‘this is MY table. i bought it
with MY money
and you will sit at
MY table
if you want to eat ever again…’

my mom found her voice
and independence
with this table…
when she died 31 years ago
it was her wish
for me to have it
but i did not take it then…
i already had a table
i loved
and i knew it was safe…
some 20+ years later
i called him and asked
him if i could have it.
i knew his wife had
a table she loved
and it was sitting in the basement
collecting dust.
what i was not prepared for
was his response,
‘i’m not dead yet, sher…
what, are you trying to kill me?’
eventually i hired a company
to move the table for me
as you know i have sat at
my mothers table
for almost 10 years now.

i love this table.
my mother brushed
crumbs of memories from
it with her hands,
she held my son at this table
when he was small,
it holds so many memories for me
that having it
meant the world to me.
we have had many dinners
and celebrations at her table
since it came home
to me…

recently i had my wood guru friend
make me 5 new leaves
for it…
one for each of our children.
the goal?
to have each family paint a leaf
however they wanted
so at each gathering
we would insert them
and smile…

originally it was built to hold 10 leaves.
the construction was all hand carved.
it was a bit tough to separate
the two halves to add them
but none the less
i was excited…

the day came
for our wood man
and i to give it a trial run…
we opened it up
and began inserting piece
after piece…
we noticed it sagged a bit
and i had a middle leg
so i got that out of storage
and just as we were securing
the whole beautiful table
that my family would
sit at for hopefully generations to come

all the connective hand carved
wooden pieces which supported
all the leaves
splintered into a million
tiny pieces
and we both toppled over…

at first
my heart broke.
my next reaction
was to assure him
this was not his fault
as the piece was so old
that the wood was probably fragile…
i know he felt bad,
but we cleaned up
stashed the two big sections
in the corner of my room
set up my portable folding tables
placing table clothes upon them
and he left…

i was numb

i remembered how
when you sat at the table
you could not cross your legs,
how my kids really did not
want this outdated antique
when i died
but they were so kind
they would tell me,
‘i will absolutely take it, mom…’
and how tough it was to insert
just one leaf,
which got my artsy fartsy brain to thinking,
what if…

what if i used my wood gurus
genius mind
and my creative
think outside the box mind
and together
we came up
with a new table
using the old pieces
mixed with the new?

i quickly texted him
telling him not to worry
i was not upset…
which in reality,
i was not…
i was still seeing the table
crumble before us
giggling inside
at the thought
that we believed
we could take
a 144 year old piece of furniture
and just make it
into something new…

can you remake the broken


i am sad moms table
is no more
what she purchased,
but i am also excited
about what it can now
a table that will be loved
in this 21st century
by my children
who will no doubt hear the story
many times
of how it splintered
and then was remade
into the table we now
celebrate all our family
happenings from
new births,
to marriage
to birthdays,
the possibilities are endless..
and i will guarantee you
every time
i brush the crumbs
of memory from
this table
i will see my mothers hands
doing the same…

we are connected forever
and changing the legs
on this old table
and remaking it into
something a little more me
it exactly what mom
would expect of
her artsy fartsy
daughter she loved…

she was the reason
i pursued art.
she believed in me
so i know,
no matter what
the wood guru and i come up with
she will be smiling down
from heaven
and whispering,
‘i love it, sher, but i love you more…’


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