I admit I love my new kitchen. I’ve waited more than 20 years for this overhaul. It’s stylish and beautiful and wonderfully distinctive. I’m all about the custom designed, one-of-a-kind, never repeatable, work of art, mine-all-mine countertops. Those counters perfectly compliment the gorgeous copper sink, Tuscan-style wall and backsplash tile, new window, lighting and my brand-new hand-crafted pedestal kitchen table. I am abundantly blessed and excited.
You’re possibly thinking, ‘Wow, what’s up with all the bragging’?
If you watch home remodeling shows, you’ll recognize that the hosts rip through an old house without a thought to who previously lived there. Because I’m super-sentimental I can’t help but wonder, ‘where are the former owners and what’s their story?’
I live in the home where I grew up. My home is rich with years of remodeling chops that my parents honed. They restored the ‘haunted house on the hill’ into a beautiful tribute to hard work, lots of prayer, many blessings in time, talent and loads of their hard-earned treasure. I admit it’s overly sappy that each change I make means removing an aspect of my parents, but it’s hard to separate a lifetime of love, laughter and tears from the dreadful 1970s Formica.
Each inch of the former kitchen countertops held a story where Mom prepared gourmet meals rivaling every television chef. The cabinets still hold the best of her pots, pans, roasters, cake pans and pie plates.
Mom prepared recipes mostly from recollection. When she tried a new recipe, it was soon transformed and committed to memory. She added or subtracted items, combined her secret ingredients and of course waved her magic wand – as my family often jokes.
She never made a meal that wasn’t excellent. Something as mundane as macaroni and cheese was a work of art. She scoffed at using boxed mac and cheese. She cooked from scratch. Her mixture of three cheeses decadently blended into creamy bliss.
She came from an era celebrating the everyday love of providing for a family. Her skills perfected by practice and care. I took for granted her great talent. She would give me pointers but I half listened – not appreciating her knowledge. I thought cooking was easy. I now follow her recipes to the detail. They’re never quite right. No magic wand here.
This kitchen is where she created so many delicious Thanksgiving turkeys, Easter hams and Christmas hand-made ravioli. The taste of her fabulous meals still lingers.
But more than just the fabulous food, she trusted God and prayed the Rosary every day. Trusting God was her way of loving her family.
But more than just the fabulous food, she trusted God and prayed the Rosary every day. Trusting God was her way of loving her family. She quietly guided so many with her example and support. This kitchen is where I was taught the sign of the cross, plus Grace before meals. I learned how to say the Rosary with my family gathered around the table.
It’s where my First Communion celebration and then, decades later, my children’s First Communion and Confirmation celebrations were held. It was here that I opened my college acceptance (and a couple rejection) letters. It’s where several dogs and a couple of cats puked, pottied, and lived their sweet lives.
In this kitchen is where the afternoon sun impossibly dimmed as Mom told me that Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. It’s the room I ran through to reach my husband during his cardiac arrest. She taught me to perfectly trust in God. And sometimes, leaning on God during those hard situations are when we truly taste and see His goodness the most.
It is where numerous babies learned to crawl then toddle under the white Formica table. Then, too soon, graduated to running in the back yard. It’s where we welcomed my daughter-in-law with open arms; where our first grandson joined our household to begin his beautiful little life.
We’ve declared toasts and felt the joy of meals shared with extended family, friends, neighbors, several priests, coworkers, the list goes on. In this room I witnessed so many laughs, lessons learned, holiday joys shared, arguments, tears, and a little heart break. But I run to Him for the little things in life, the big ones, too.
This simple kitchen with all it’s wonderful tastes, smells and sounds holds a culmination of what I know, learned and today experience in my relationship with God. Through my parents, my family, and this space these events serve to allow me to see His good blessings in my life and thus to be blessed in return.
To taste and see are so much more than sensory processes. They reveal God’s glory in each of our lives. Even with a facelift, this kitchen holds the marvelous memories already lived while welcoming the vision of blessings yet to come. We cherish and delight in the goodness of God in all his gifts to us – happy or difficult, sharp or smooth. We bravely contemplate the tart and sweetness of them. I have tasted of His goodness and proclaim it to the world.