I have a confession to make. I haven’t been cooking lately. It’s been months to be exact. I would like to tell you I just don’t have the time. Or I’m tired of the recipes I’ve always used. But the truth is I’ve found a table set for two is just too hard.
I’ve watched friends journey through this season with grace and love. I marvel now at their tenacity and endurance. I didn’t know then what I know now. I didn’t know a quiet house can be too loud. Or how my heart would skip a beat when one of the kids called just to talk. No warning could have prepared for me for this transition.
It’s not a bad change. I know that in my mind, but my heart has been slow to catch up. Calling out “dinner’s ready” doesn’t have the appeal it once had. No rush to the table to see what I’ve prepared or fussing over who gets to go first. No giggling, or crying, or spilled milk.
And what do I do to cope? I stop cooking. My hubby picked up the slack without much fuss. When the youngest is home we gather at the table, but the evenings he’s busy it just doesn’t feel worth it.
The quiet of a table set for two used to be something special. A date night out or much needed respite from the busy of raising three kids. But now I’m just not sure what to do with it.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try a meal kit company. I thought it might inspire me with new recipes, and make the process of cooking easier. No planning, no grocery stores, no trying to figure out how to reduce the amount of food I’m used to cooking. Just the delivery of a box with everything I need to cook a meal for two.
I tote the box home and open it. I follow the directions and prepare the meal. As I set the table for two, I recognize what I’ve tried to avoid with my not cooking season.
A tear slips quietly down, and I sigh. This almost empty nest thing is a hard letting go. It takes time to adjust. Time to breath deep and allow the change to have its way. Time to let tears fall and remember those things you loved about a full house. Time to embrace the new rhythm in your heart and home.
I light the candle and call out, “Dinner’s ready!”
And I give thanks for the ones those empty chairs represent, and the one who sits across from me. I give thanks for my table set for two.