On the day after Thanksgiving, my father & my brother loaded up the truck and spent their day being delivery men for the beautiful farmhouse table that my father built me. My mom painted it with a driftwood grey wash and sent two matching antique straightback chairs and my grandma sent a care package with some owl tree ornaments. It was like Christmas came early.
I draped the table with a spangled green velvet runner and made a bad decision to haul up a small antique dresser from the basement. (I say a bad idea because I really had no concept of how heavy this piece was until I’d wrestled it halfway up the basement stairs. Then I started second-guessing myself about whether I could manage it the rest of the way, and had horrible visions of me falling with it, tumbling down the stairs with a heavy dresser, being crushed like an egg, bones broken, begging Emmett to ‘…bring….mommy….the phone…’)
Anyway, the dresser had been languishing in GB’s man cave workshop since we bought it, shortly before Miss L’s birth. I’d intended it to be her dresser. It was refinished a lovely shade of pale blue but had an admirable pedigree of history behind it.
However, shortly after we bought the piece, my mother asked me in passing if I’d checked it for lead-based paint, because it was so old. Of course, I hadn’t even considered it, and it created a swamping wave of anxiety on my part and a lot of Internet research that left me cold with dread and wanting the dresser, innocent before proven guilty as it was, nowhere near my infant. So it was relegated to the downstairs kingdom.
Now, however, my anti-anxiety meds have fully taken hold, and Miss L is six, well old enough not to chew on furniture.
Anyway, set with candlesticks and a teapot, the little dresser makes a fine sideboard companion for my beautiful table, and stands next to another antique chair that I refinished with milk paint and glossed with tung oil. For the first time, I am really pleased with my dining room. The table is my favorite possession in the world.
I have lots of things handmade by my parents. Dad carves us funny little Santa ornaments every Christmas, and Mom paints their wizened faces and gives them intricate Scandinavian designs on their suits & caps. They do decoys together, and I have a couple little tables that they’ve done, too, a footstool with a grey cat looking at the stars. However, the table is a massive work of art. Having something that large that was made for me by my own parents is like having a little piece of them in my house all the time. The wood has a heart that glows out and makes me smile and feel loved every time I see it.
Having this room be perfect has, however, has the downside of making me incredibly dissatisfied with my living room. I hate everything in it except the couch. I’ve been trying to save my money so that I have a rainy day emergency fund, but I do not think I can stand that living room for another six months. I want to paint it a perfect pale gray and I have ten shades saved on Pinterest that I pore over daily (they are going to drive me crazy). I want a new cabinet for my television and books, and am constantly looking for a template that I can send my dad so I can twist his arm into making it for me and having mom paint it the same color as my table. I want to haul the old cheap Home Depot rug out into the driveway and set fire to it and throw the Ikea sleeper loveseat out there too, hard as a rock and has Miss L’s marker scribbles on it. I want to kick the Target torchiere lamp down the street. I can’t wait to gut it and start all over.
The holiday season is in full swing, I’ve joined my Fitness Accountability Group, and there have been the usual minor seismic shifts in my life, as reflected in a pair of strange dreams. The other night, I dreamt of cardinals attacking my house, coming in through the windows in a perfect Alfred Hitchcock fury, as I raced down to the basement to hide in a bathroom that I then horribly realized was my work office, made of glass windows that wouldn’t protect me from their onslaught. I mean, cardinals, of all birds – symbols of love, relationships, hope, compassion. What the hell does THAT mean? I went to bed last night feeling very unsettled and anxious, and had another dream that seemed to be the counterpoint to that. I dreamed of work again, and being relocated to another office (which is actually happening) and filling it with protective boughs and garlands of herbs and flowers. Then an old friend of mine from childhood and high school, who is over ten years deceased now, was walking with me down the hall. I recognized her more by her very distinctive striding walk than her face or her voice, but she was there, and then I was looking at my own self in the mirror and telling myself in a very strong and convincing voice that God never gives us more to handle than we can bear. I woke up feeling much relieved – ‘oh yeah, I forgot, I’m not alone, and there are reasons for things that I may not understand at the time.’ I’m not sure what is going on in my head or my dream symbolism these days, but it’s good to know that my subconscious is now capable of sending me a strong reminder to have faith.