I’ve often heard it said that “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” If that’s true, our home may be in big trouble because our kitchen is so tiny it certainly couldn’t house an organ capable of keeping the whole place alive.
But, as for most families, our kitchen is important component of our family life. There’s the meal-making, of course. That was a part of my parenting identity that I always found fulfilling (though I definitely have plenty of days when planning, cooking, and cleaning up after a meal is at the bottom of my list of interests).
There are many, many memories of cozy afternoons with the oven humming as we baked a special dessert. Steamy summer days when we chopped up fruit, veggies, and herbs for salsa. Happy school vacation days when we made batches of Kool-Aid play dough, with the sickly sweet fragrance of artificial cherry or grape wafting up from the warm lump of dough.
I have snapshots happily tucked away in my mind of toddlers tearing through the drawer full of plastic containers, dumping Cheerios out onto the floor for a more accessible snack, bouncing in the “Johnny Jump-Up” clamped to the door frame, sitting beside the Crock Pot and picking out the frozen vegetables to crunch on.
And then there was that summer, when The Husband and I were both still working for our local public school district and had 10 free weeks in June, July, and August, when we completely gutted and redecorated the entire kitchen. The whole family was in on the project. Middle Sister was my partner in decorating. Oldest removed all the cabinet doors and helped with the staining and antiquing. The Husband did the heavy work – replacing the countertops, installing the wainscoting and back splash, inserting the sink. The Boy did the bits under and inside the cabinets, as he was small enough to wiggle in and good enough with tools to do whatever was required.
The project took all but the last three days of our summer vacation to complete. Our only vacation time that year was an overnight at the nearby Great Wolf Lodge on one of those three days.
I still love our kitchen, and over the 25 years we’ve been in this house, I’ve just about gotten over the inconvenience of its tiny size. It’s big enough to hold plenty of wonderful memories.