Step inside my home, walk these toy scattered floors with me, pull up one of our old oak chairs and I will pour you a glass of southern sweet tea. In our home you will breathe in the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice; my two favorite flavors regardless of the season (I just can’t help myself). Our home is not much different from everyone else’s. In our home there are hugs and kisses, laughter, tears, prayers, struggles, and imperfections which are all covered under a banner of love.
But, in our home we sing at the table. It’s true. In fact, not too many meals go by where we do not sing some sort of ditty. This is just one of the ways that we celebrate life with our children.
You see, the dinner table represents a great many things for our family. The dinner table represents God’s provision, it is a gathering place for loved ones, and some days (let’s just be honest) it represents the fact that we survived another day! However, the dinner table also represents struggle, frustration, and can (at times) represent a battle ground as we work to teach our son (who has Autism) to feed himself …and some days to have him eat at all.
From the very beginning, my precious daughter did not like to see her brother struggle so at the table. Because her baby brother loves music, Grace began singing to him. His eyes would light up and his body would relax. Grace made it her personal goal to have her brother laughing, singing, or smiling throughout our meal times…and it stuck. Sometimes our greatest teachers are our children. Grace celebrates life with the fullness of a joyful spirit and the love she has for her brother is encompassed by this. So, we sing. And we laugh. And we share. And we celebrate together.
There are still many meals that are difficult. In fact, just the other night I had to dodge a flying fork! My son still struggles with feeding himself and eating certain things. Although he has made so much progress and we are so very proud of him, mealtime is not always easy. But, we have long since let go of what the traditional “dinner table experience” might look like and we celebrate the best of our unique family.
I want my home to be a place of refuge for my “people.” I want to teach my little ones to celebrate not only the big moments of life, but all the little moments that are shaping their life story. I pray that our hearts would be joyful and our home would be joy-filled.
So, pull up one of our worn old oak chairs, sip on some sweet tea, and celebrate life with us. You may have to dodge a flying fork or piece of food, it may be one of the most imperfect examples of a mealtime you have ever seen, and there will be singing… but there is love. And you are welcome.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”