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The kitchen in my home is a sacred place. This humble place of mine has held the moments of our lives. My kitchen was the first room I stood in, knowing our house was the one. It was dark and the streetlight shining through the kitchen sink window was just enough light I needed to know in my bones this house was the one. If only I knew then how this space would be a witness to the truth of our lives.

My kitchen is where I make my grandma’s cookies that she taught me to make in her kitchen. Biting into one makes me feel like she is with me again. It’s a place where food constantly went missing thanks to a hungry and ornery pet. It’s where I have cooked meals for those who have brought life into the world and for families who have sadly had to let life go. It’s a place where I have also received mealsone of those meals being the most delicious chicken alfredo and a word of encouragement from a dear friend. Words I still hold close to my heart.

My kitchen is where I gleefully told my firstborn he was going to be a big brother. It’s where I danced with my secondborn to Stevie Wonder. I remember holding him close, trying to take in that season as much as possible even though deep in my heart it would never feel like enough. It’s where I fed my daughter her first foodgreen beansand snapped a picture so I would never forget that moment.

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My kitchen is where I tearfully read a letter informing me that the doctor who helped bring those three precious children of mine into the world safely would be retiring so he could take care of himself. It’s also where I got the phone call when I knew my stepdad would not be coming home from the hospital.

It’s where I didn’t realize I was witnessing the last five years of my neighbor’s young life as I would wash the dishes and peel the cucumbers at my kitchen sink window. Seeing the lights he would display just a few days before Christmas always brought me joy. Through that same window is where I saw the hospice ambulance pull up to his house one day. I knew it was the hospice ambulance because it was the same ambulance that took my stepdad from the hospital to the local hospice house. I didn’t stay in the kitchen in that moment. Instead, I moved to my daughter’s bedroom, sat on her floor, and prayed. The kitchen is where I regretted not getting to know my neighbors better.

My kitchen is where I witness the comings and goings of the neighborhooda pattern almost. It’s where I would discretely keep an eye on the girl who stood at the corner by herself waiting for the school bus in the dark. It’s where I would remind myself I was a mom to all even if just for a few minutes in the early morning hours. It’s where I would notice the kindness of a neighbor who mowed our yard. It’s where I would contemplate how to best help another neighbor.

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The kitchen is where I have walked, swollen-eyed after crying off and on through the night over something that hurt my heart. It’s where I have apologized . . . lots. It’s where I retreat during family gatherings when I need to breathe because being an introvert does that sort of thing.

My kitchen is where backpacks and coats are left on the floor after school, a reminder to me that we are in the good old days. It’s where bowls of cheese crackers are filled, and empty water glasses are strewn around. (Those glasses are most likely mine.) It’s where I stare into my son’s face, kiss his cheek, and say for the millionth time how much I love his freckles. It’s where I stand next to my oldest to see if he has surpassed me in height yet. I know it’s going to happen any day now. It’s where deep conversations over coffee happen while sitting on the floor. It’s where my husband and I work out our differences of how we see the world and how to best raise our children.

I used to take my kitchen for granted. It doesn’t look like the kitchens I see on social media. It has a cracked ceiling light, and there are places that need paint. However, it’s where our lives have unfoldedthe mundane and circumstances that have brought us to our knees. It holds truth, and it has held it well. My kitchen is sacred, it’s perfect.

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Jenna Foland

I am a wife and mother to my three. When I am not busy with my family, I am substitute teaching and volunteering at my kids' school, cooking, or enjoying the outdoors. Writing is my first passion. Hearing people's stories is my second.

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