I've always dreamed of a giant, handmade table to gather around. I kind of figured it was beyond our capacity at this stage in life to make one, so I just ordered one from cheap online retailer. The deal seemed too good to be true. And it was - it was only for the legs even though the listing said otherwise. The company was great about it and refunded us and said, just keep them, they're too heavy and not worth shipping back.
So there we were with two solid, chunky, modern farmhouse table legs. Since half the work was already, done, adding the top was doable and in Daniel's wheelhouse. He used four 2x4s to connect the legs since they were at an angle, and then added five 10ft pieces of wood to the top, and we now have a completely custom, long and wide, modern farmhouse table for under $100.
I love it and it's my very favorite piece of furniture we own, but I don't think you need a 10 ft custom farmhouse table to gather people within your home. It's not really about the table, or even the house. It's about making the time and the space for people to feel heard and seen and known and loved. Use whatever you have and whatever you've been given. An old picnic blanket works just fine.
I think most people who have toddlers would agree that dinnertime and two year olds doesn't always (ever?) look like calm conversation and time to connect. It is mostly utilitarian - here's food for you, and you, and you, can everyone just sit together for two minutes without screaming or asking for more or to get down, and if you're lucky a, "How was your day?" and enough time to hear the answer. Relaxing, it is not.
But it's important. And when there is something that I know is good for my family and will set the tone for years to come, I try everything in my power to make it happen. These things help me make dinner time happen for my family: the long term perspective, simple meals, wine, and... a grocery delivery service. I am trying out Shipt, and I'm learning that when our plate feels too full (literally here), to take something off it. There are kind, wonderful people who want to do your grocery shopping for you. Shipt just launched in Seattle with Target, and you can shop from your couch and have it delivered to your house within an hour. There is an annual membership fee, but after that, delivery is free over $35. Anything that makes getting my family together around a table easier in this season of life with a toddler is a win for me. The time together is worth it.
Thank you to Shipt for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.