Stories

The love of stories has been deeply rooted for as long as I can remember.  I received books as gifts for birthdays and Christmases and I remember seeing them swallow up the small space of the nightstand next to my father’s side of the bed.  My mother often read to us, but one particularly strong memory is of her reading The Secret Garden to us when we were young in preparation for a wonderful treat: seeing the stage production as a family with my beloved grandmother.  Later when we were older, we didn’t have television in the summer so I had to find something to pass the time on rainy summer days, and books were a great way to do that.Image result for photos of booksI don’t remember reading much for fun during high school and college (as many people don’t). When traveling I would pick up a random book here or there and read on the beach or some airport.  Reading was a hobby, but sporadic and completely random.  I didn’t keep track of what I read and I certainly had no direction or purpose for it.  But my love of reading was truly reignited when I moved to a new town not knowing a soul.  A few weeks after moving, my husband and I had our first child.  Now it makes no sense that I would start reading again within months of becoming a mother for the first time (you mothers can understand my thoughts here), but another discovery was quick to come: for those of us extroverts, motherhood for me could be exceptionally lonely.  

Oh, please do not misunderstand me.  I’ve known my whole life I wanted to be a mother.  I love to hold them, cuddle them, snuggle and play with them.  I loved teaching them new things (yes, I became a teacher because of it).  During high school and college I taught dance classes to all ages at three different dance studios and babysat for any family that would hire me.  When my husband and I got married, I couldn’t wait to stay at home with my kids.  But, as I mentioned before, we moved to a new place and motherhood is wonderful and amazing and fun.  And exhausting and worrisome and nerve-wracking.  I am in charge of this little soul who is truly now mine.  I was elated!  I am doing what I was born to do!!  But I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it.

I am thankful that I found a moms group that supported women in just our situation: veteran moms teaming up with new moms to help navigate the joys, trials and concerns of motherhood. From that group, I began to hear that other women we’re missing some of their old hobbies, one of which was reading. So, I decided to stick my neck out and ask if anyone would like to join a short-term book club.  I was so thankful there were quite a few interested and I decided to launch our group.  Be sure to check back, I’ll be telling you how I started my group!

There are many different ways to create your own Comfort Table, but I have found that one of the best ways is for you to start it yourself.  I know, I know, some of you are already getting anxious and nervous and sweaty because you aren’t like me and you hate being the initiator.  I get that.  I can hear a particular friend of mine yelling at me right now, ” That is SO not something I could do!  I hate initiating that kind of thing!”  BUT, consider what you might gain.  It might just be the thing you have been desiring for a very long time.  It might just become one of the best parts of your story.

Have you ever created a group of people that you enjoy being around?  If you haven’t yet, what would you like to be the focus of your group (i.e. books, dinner club, jewelry making, writing, etc.)?

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome!  I am so glad you are here.  What is the Comfort Table you may ask?

The Comfort Table is any place that makes you feel at home.  Safe.  At ease and relaxed.  When you arrive there, you take a deep breath and exhale fully.  You are finally with your people.  Among these people, you do not feel judged or analyzed.  You can show up in sweats and no one thinks you need an intervention.  You may or may not have lots in common with these people.  But there is always one thing that binds you.  And that is the Comfort Table.

Image result for grand haven MI sunset photo

My first Comfort Table was Lake Michigan.  My summers as a child were spent playing in the sand for HOURS.  We would bury the hose, create “drip” sandcastles, never get out of our bathing suits all day.  We would eat watermelon and peaches and blueberries from the corner market.  There wasn’t a television so we had to find our own entertainment.  Books, board games and days and days of card games.  I have seen more sunsets in the exact same location for about 25 years.  (And yes, that photo is really Grand Haven and sunsets really do look like that–they rival any sunset I’ve seen on a tropical island any day).  It was my sanctuary.  After college I moved around a lot, even out of the country for a while, but when I would return home I would barely say hello to my parents before running out to the front deck to smell the lake.  There is truly nothing like it.  It is fresh and rejuvenating.  The cool breeze ruffling the beach grass.  The sea gulls squawking overhead.  Waves crashing methodically saying You are home.

Moving away from home is fun!  Exciting!  An adventure!  You get to discover who you are!  But for the first time, you realize how much home really means to you.  Oh, you are ready for the adventure (maybe some more than others), but you suddenly get a nasty cold and you just want your mom and no one else knows what movies you like to watch when you don’t feel good.  She knows when you’re lying, saying you feel a bit better and that, No young lady, get back in bed you are still very sick.  Your roommate is kind enough to grab a can of soup on the way home but it’s the wrong brand!  My mom doesn’t get that kind!  She gets the kind that has the noodles, not the rice, I hate the rice!  Or it’s your birthday and your best friend forgets to call because she had a date with “that new guy” or she’s been swamped at work.  Suddenly you are forced to create little bits of your own home away from home.  That was the part of becoming an adult that I didn’t know about.

This an exploration of all the places that I have found my Comfort Table since leaving home.  See, here’s the ironic part.  Lake Michigan isn’t where I went to school and did most of my growing up.  But it is the one very concrete place that I felt my soul rest and relax.  It is because of the people and experiences I had there that I felt it necessary to seek out my own since leaving there.  I am deeply thankful my parents are still there so I can visit.  But, should they ever leave I have learned that I can, in many little ways, recreate that feeling of comfort.  Would you like to join me?  Pull up a chair and let’s enjoy some coffee at the Comfort Table together, shall we?