She hummed a song to us in Dutch, and I listened with my elbows on the table, to this woman with sterling silver hair.
We were there, young moms and grandmothers, gathered around round tables with coffee mugs and plates of squares, learning from each other. It felt like Mary at the feet of Jesus, and we were asking them questions like “How did you teach your children about Jesus?” and “How did you raise them to respect their elders?” and “What are your favorite songs?”
There we were, our hair mussed and our eyes worn with lines from dozens of sleepless nights and there they were, skin lined with dozens of hard-earned years and the laughter of a thousand evenings around their mouths.
And we all had calloused hands and soft hearts for the loving on family, and we all had Scripture memorized and hymns worn into the grooves of our souls.
And I learned that it’s good to read Scripture at the supper table. But it’s better to do it while having fun together. I learned that mealtimes as a family speak louder to kids than words, and that they’ll never forget you attending all of their hockey games, but they’ll notice if you don’t. I learned the importance of being home when my kids get home from school. I learned that I’m not the only one who hates spanking yet does it anyway because sometimes it’s the only thing that will teach an 18-month-old and that later on, when they can reason, you can ask them to help you think of punishments, and let them choose.
And that you can’t say I love you enough.
I learned that I’m not alone in wanting my husband to be the one to read the Bible at the supper table.
I learned also that children need to hear their mothers pray.
I learned that time, without kids, goes slowly, and that the cobwebs and dishes will wait.
And I learned that I can cry over the sound of an older woman’s regret, for all of those wasted years, for all of the I Love You’s not said and all of the stories not read and all of the hugs not given.
We sang at the end, we sang to the sound of the church piano and then we kept talking, even as they gathered up mugs because there was unity at that table.
A round table, encircled by the arms of women, carrying the world.
***don’t forget to join us tomorrow for Imperfect Prose on Thursdays! NO PROMPT!