Sunday, April 27, 2014

Another Place at the Table

Yesterday was the bridal shower for one of my daughter's best friends.  During the week I helped her design and assemble the floral arrangements.  I love working with flowers, and Jen is very artistic, so it was a pleasure to work beside her as she created the centerpieces.  We loaded the flowers into her car late in the morning, and she left to help the other bridesmaids set up for the shower.  When I walked into the restaurant later, I was awed at the beautiful venue the girls had chosen. 

After greeting the bride-to-be and her mother, I sat at a table with three of Jen's long-time friends.  How fortunate I felt to have some time with them all.  I was reminded how swiftly life flows.  It seems that it was just yesterday these same girls sat around my kitchen table, talking of school and boys and parties.  And now, they are grown up, two of them with children of their own.  I have always felt blessed that my children's friends spent so much time at my house when they were young.  With a four-year age difference between each of my three children, our home was often filled with friends of vastly different ages and interests.  And how joyful it was to watch them all interact and enjoy each other's company.  I loved them all, and those were the best of times -- a house filled with chatter and laughter and "life."

So many memories drifted through my heart as I pondered those lovely years.  I remember the sleepovers in the elementary school years -- one of my son's friends ALWAYS wanted peanut butter and toast for his evening snack.  The boys usually congregated  noisily downstairs to watch TV, but even in early childhood, the girls preferred to shut themselves away in my daughter's room to share their secrets and dreams.  I remember summers camping near Lake George, with a camper filled with so many young people I had to step carefully through the sleeping bags and blankets in the morning to turn on the coffee.  I remember waiting up until everyone came home from their evening wanderings -- sometimes to listen to their stories, and other times to lie quietly in bed and listen to their footsteps coming up the stairs -- just to know they were all safely back for the night.  I remember trips to Brueggers on Sunday morning so the girls could wake up to warm bagels.  There were almost always extra plates at the supper table -- I will always cherish those meals, when we could just pull up an extra chair for a latecomer.

And now, in what seems like a heartbeat, they are all grown up.  The strong ties of friendship have remained, though, so I still see these "children of my heart" occasionally.  The gangly little boys who have grown into handsome, responsible young men, and the beautiful little girls who have become even more lovely as young women.  I have celebrated their marriages; I have held their babies in my arms, and watched them grow.  Those early days were crazy and exhausting and tremendous fun.  I will always be thankful for those times of togetherness, tears, and laughter. How quiet the house seems now.

Yesterday, I felt blessed to once again sit at the candlelit table with "my girls" and enjoy the beautiful restaurant, the delicious food, the anticipation of the wedding to come, and the company of these lovely young women.  Life moves swiftly past us, and we must savor the moments of togetherness and the days of celebration, and store them away to ponder in our hearts.

Flowers by J P Designs

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