The Table

Hey there, it's Maeve. I hope you've been enjoying this Advent series! I hope you have found ways that work for you to slow down, reflect & savor this season. It's so sweet when we do, right?  I wanted to share a piece I wrote for The Free Woman. The Free Woman is all about raw, real beauty and celebrating the unique stories within us. I really love the work they are doing. I feel so honored to share a bit of my heart on their blog and have the chance to write about one of my favorite themes - the power in gathering around the table. 


 

advent table

 When I was a little, I used to play restaurant.

I designed menus, created recipes (mainly involving cookies and pudding) and made lots of tea. I named my little space the Songbird Café. Whenever a babysitter came over I’d hand them a menu and take their order. The really fun ones would play along and take my order too.

Most of the time though, I waited on imaginary customers. I loved who came by and the stories that were told. I didn’t even mind when folks complained that their tea was cold.

In so many ways, the Songbird Café lives on – I still love feeding people. I still love gathering people in our home. Thankfully, now they are real.

And yet still, there are moments I feel this deep need to please and perform and perfect. I feel like it’s all a big show where I am juggling flaming torches and bouncing on one leg. Anyone else?

No one is asking me to perform, it’s this pressure I put on myself. We do this to ourselves a lot, yeah?

What I am learning through trial and error is this – the art of gathering, the essence of hospitality, is not so much the homemade crusty bread but the hands that meet to break it.

It’s not what covers the table but whose sitting around it.

That’s where the power lies.

That’s where the magic is friend.

Of course, a really good meal can make a heart flutter. But what we love even more is the connection.

What we crave is for a moment in this busy, beautiful, disorganized life there is meaning and purpose in the mess. And for a few hours you don’t feel completely alone. There is joy in rubbing elbows, sitting next to someone you barely know and choosing openness and familiarity – even when it’s terrifying. There is beauty in allowing our stories to unravel, finding that in so many ways they are alike, they are woven into each other.

Head on over to The Free Woman to read more...

Dear Mom,

Lauren Gay Photography I started this post late Tuesday night with hopes of publishing first thing Wednesday morning.  And now it's Thursday.

Oops.

But with my head spinning over the fact that my sweet sister, your dear daughter, became a mother, I just couldn't get my words to fall into place.

Plus it was 10:30pm and I was slowly turning into a pumpkin.

So I didn't finish these words on your birthday.  But, who cares?  Lets celebrate all week. You deserve it.

It's hard to sum you up Momma.  It's hard to pinpoint all the many parts that make you brave and bold and loving.  Because here's the thing, you're an all the time, tell it like it is, hug ya when you need it, powerful woman.

You're one of the few people who can read me.  You know when I am actually completely terrified while I pretend to be cool as a cucumber.

You know full well I'm lying through my teeth on the phone when I say, "Yes Mom, I'm fine".  When Lord knows I'm not.

You're always the first one to call or text or apologize when we've had conflict.

I can be so prideful.  But you?  You just forget about keeping score or who was right or wrong. You just love and forgive and let go.

So much of who I am is because of you.  How do I know?

I struggle to arrive anywhere empty handed.  Be it a plant, cookie tray, or bottle of wine, I need something, anything, to show folks I am so touched to be in their home.

Because you always insisted we bring something.

I  believe a good ol' fashion thank you card never goes out of style.   I can hear your voice ringing in my ear, "Maeve, did you call so and so for that sweet gift?  Did you write them a card?"

I ache to be a good neighbor and friend, even when it might feel awkward or inconvenient.

You're the first person to bring a loaf of bread to a new family that moved in down the street.  You call and stop by when a family has lost someone really important to them.  You check up on the elderly neighbor who lives alone in case they need something.  You invite the neighbors kids over for a swim in the pool.  You babysit your daughters friends kids.

I believe, with all my heart and soul, that all we are and do and believe starts in the home.

You made sure we always ate dinner together as a family.  Even when life was crazy. Even when you and Dad worked full-time jobs and grandma moved in and Jess played field hockey and I played..cheerleading.  Our table was a sacred place.  And that could never be broken.

I believe marriage is hard work.  I know it's something you have to fight for, each and every day.  You've shown me it's about taking a leap of faith and choosing commitment.  It's about standing next to your man when he becomes choked up giving a speech.  It's about always giving each other a kiss when you leave for work. It's about choosing to talk at the dinner table, not read the newspaper, when the kids go away to college.

I also know when a really good song comes on you get up and dance - immediately.

Lauren Gay Photography

I'm constantly in awe of you mom.  Constantly inspired by your love and gratitude and generosity.

I know life has changed drastically.  I know it must feel strange to retire, to see your two little girls all grown up, to see your oldest daughter become a mother too.

But I am so excited for you.

I'm excited to see how you grow and dream and love, even more deeply.  I'm so excited to laugh and dance and sit around the table with you.

Cheers to your life, in all it's beauty and change, in all it's grand adventure, unfolding bit by bit, moment by moment.

Happy [belated] Birthday sweet mother.

I love you dearly.

-your daughter