Embrace the Stains

This is my favorite tablecloth.  It’s nothing fancy.  Not lace or linen, it’s just a cotton reproduction of one from the late ’40s or early ’50s.  It’s been laundered so many times it possesses that soft, used patina,  It looks vintage.

I cherish it because it reminds me of my aunt’s home which I loved to visit when I was a little girl.  At her house, we ate off Fiestaware dishes – the real ones!

Last Friday night we hosted a going-away party for a friend of our son’s, a young man who was leaving for military basic training.  Of course, for the occasion, I hauled out my favorite – my retro, repro tablecloth.

The food – a combination of my and guests’ cooking – was plentiful, and delicious.  Little Smokies in barbeque sauce, Chex Mix, bean soup, Angus roast beef, turkey and cheeses, buns, Cheeseburger Casserole, Broccoli Salad, Molasses Crinkles & Chocolate Chip cookies.  And a Mint-Chocolate-Oreos-Ice Cream cake with whipped cream, which threw one into an instant and sublime sugar buzz.

It was a fun party.

My Hero is a great and enthusiastic cleaner-upper.  It took a few years of our early married life to convince him to leave the table in its expanded size until after the guests had left.  So, it wasn’t until the next day when I found my much-loved tablecloth on top of the washer in the laundry room.  I picked it up and held it out at arm’s length.  And stared.  There, in living color, were signs of joy, of lives well-lived.  Memory markers.  Visible reminders of precious moments.

I almost hugged it.  The entire story of the party was recorded in red, green, and brown stains.  Big ones.  Chunky ones.  The scrape-it-off kind.

Yes, I sprayed every spot I could find with Zout.  But if that failed, I was prepared to live with those stains forever – with no regrets.

These are “after” shots – every stain came out.  But I’d do it all over again even if they hadn’t.  After raising three sons, I’ve come to realize that each day is real life.  They’re not a rehearsal for “some day.”  Today is the day to use my best china, wear my favorite fragrance, wear stilettos in the kitchen…if I feel like it…

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Stains and all.  What kind of non-rehearsal, this-is-real-life things will you do today?

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6 Responses

  1. Well said!! I am realizing each day that my daughter is growing up faster than I would like! But, I want to enjoy the moments with her…even if it means sandy shoes tracking in dust from an afternoon at the park, or little fingerprints on the window, toys scattered throughout the house, or crumbs on the kitchen floor. Embracing the little messes of childhood for those special real-life moments. Off to enjoy a few of those right now!! 🙂

  2. Good read–thanks.

    It is easy to get caught up in day to day stuff and forget that each moment will never happen again.

  3. you guys have the gift of hospitality..having experienced it first hand..and now hearing your thoughts just re-confirms it….love people -use things- as someone told me…as far as your question
    “What kind of non-rehearsal, this-is-real-life things will you do today?”

    I tagged along w/ the wife, daughter, granddaughter to Chuck-E-Cheese’s instead of staying home puttering in the office…went with a good attitude, even got in some of the rides :-)..that is definitely a change of heart for me from 10 yrs ago.

  4. Even on a day that started out with four spit ups, a poopy accident, and me feeling exhausted, I took my little boy on our first ever “mommy-son” date. It was delightful. And this little boy is worth every new stain or smell I find.

    It’s good to have you back! 🙂

  5. YAY! You’re back blogging! 🙂

    a good perspective. 🙂

  6. It was good catching up with you… I appreciate your resolve and strength. You are a wonderful child of God!!

    Many blessings-
    Amanda

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