The stories my kitchen tells

mother's day & kitchen storiesMy mom & me, circa 1987.

My mom’s in the kitchen, my aunts will soon be in the breakfast nook, and my grandmas are in the dining room. Every day.

It’s easy to forget when you’re knee-deep in painter’s tape and drop cloths, but styling a home isn’t just about choosing colors and bragging online. It’s about surrounding yourself with people and pieces that remind you where you came from and who you want to be.

mother's day & kitchen storiesMy mom and me at Owen’s second birthday party, November 2013.

I hope to be like my mother, who taught from textbooks often dusted with flour spilled over from her latest cheese bread, or banana bread, or carrot cake, sometimes made for us but many times made for others more in need of the comfort carbs: new parents, grieving spouses, cancer auctions. So, I will hang a collection of rolling pins — some new, some well-loved — on the wall to remind me that the time spent kneading, and waiting, and savoring, matters.

mother's day & kitchen storiesThe women on my mom’s side at my wedding, May 2008.

I hope to be like my aunts, who don’t simply feed people — they sit down with them. They talk and laugh and prove that if it can’t be remedied by a long game of Yahtzee and a warm meal, it’s probably not worth having. So, I will frame their recipes for pasta casseroles and the best brownies (ever!), and remember that a good hostess isn’t perfect, just present.

mother's day & kitchen storiesMy grandma and me, August 1983.

Mostly, I hope to be like my grandmothers: strong, feisty, sharp and compassionate women. It’s because of them that I love reading and own my freckles and can’t carry a tune (but sing, anyway). No one was better than my maternal grandma at treating the most awful people with kindness — yes, even the one who called me a homely child — recognizing that it was never about our failings and always about theirs.

mother's day & kitchen stories My grandma and me, summer 1984.

And each time I step into an antique store, I think about my paternal grandmother’s house, with its 1940s Fiestaware and stacks of books and the vintage tea set I oh-so-carefully pulled out to play with at four years old. So, I’ve added their pictures to my dining room china cabinets, and am mindful that stories are everywhere — you just have to be willing to tell them.

Here’s to you, ladies. May I forge my own path — but take yours with me.

See how my dining room is progressing HERE.

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4 thoughts on “The stories my kitchen tells

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