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I wish I could be one of those people who didn’t mind a little dirt in the house. Who didn’t mind clutter. Who didn’t mind when things were out of place. 

That’s not to say our home doesn’t have all those things. It certainly does. But the amount of time I spend worrying or being bothered by it is just plain silly. With one exceptionour dining room table. 

When my husband and I first bought our home and began to fill it with furniture, we had one rule: unless we really loved something, we weren’t going to spend a ton of money on furniture that we hoped would get worn in by children. No white couches that ran the risk of dirty fingerprints being all over them. No fancy leather chair that might warp under the spills of milk. Keep it simple and practical for a hopeful young family. 

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One of the first pieces we bought was a small farmhouse table with four chairs and a bench. The design was intended to look a little worn, which I thought would be perfect for a growing family. Five years later, it’s still my favorite of our purchases. For some reason, it’s the one place in the house I don’t worry about collecting dirt. 

This is where we eat as a family. Where my husband and I had our first meal in our new home: a rotisserie chicken we ate with our hands because we were exhausted from moving and couldn’t find the silverware.  

It’s where we fed our son his first foodshis reactions filled with drama and funny faces that now fill a photo album from his first year of life. 

It’s where we currently pass our newborn daughter back and forth, trying to pacify her as we attempt to have dinner as a new family of four. 

It’s where we have had special, intentional Christmas dinners with friends before the holidays got too busy. 

It’s where we changed our nephew’s diaper the first time we babysat him because it had been years since we’d changed a diaper, and we both were nervous. 

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It’s where we leave cookies for Santa and carrots for the Easter Bunny. 

It’s where we propped up a laptop to watch the Dodgers in the World Series while eating a nice steak dinner. 

It’s where I often post up while I’m working from home in a house that nearly always has someone sick or home early. 

It’s where we have shared tough conversations, tears, many laughs, and so much more. 

If you look close enough, there are faint memories of marker from my son learning to color. Paint from the early days of COVID when we were safe at home and did crafts to keep ourselves occupied. And you can almost always spot a little glitter too.

When I am overwhelmed by the other spots in our home that collect dirt and clutter, the dining room table gets a free pass. Because deep in the lines of the worn wood where there’s marker and paint and glitter, there’s life. 

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Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson has a professional background in communications but has only recently started to write about her own experiences. Her journey as a mother of two has opened her heart in ways she never knew possible, and writing has helped her express the highs and lows of being a working mom.

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