Our coffee table is now referred to as “the brown table.” We bought our coffee table more than ten years ago at Ikea. In our first apartment, it sat in front of our futon. We put our feet up on it while we watched movies together. We sat on the floor and ate dinner at the coffee table while watching the Lakers in the Playoffs.
We moved into our town home, and the coffee table still welcomed our feet as we read through the Sunday Los Angeles Times. I displayed “coffee table books,” turning to a new page each morning so we could marvel at photographs of Paris.
Before Ryan was born, we bought an expandable “bumper” for our coffee table. This soft, squishy covering wrapped around the edges of the table and would protect our son from the four pointy corners of the table.
As Ryan has grown, our coffee table’s purpose has also evolved. It’s usually holding some of our son’s books, but instead of soft, fabric-covered, baby-friendly books, our coffee table now has beginning chapter books and nonfiction books about the solar system on it.
For a while, my son’s small red chair was perfectly sized to place right along side the coffee table to create a make-shift desk for him. He would color and practice writing. He would cut and create. Now his legs have grown, and he has his own homework desk to work at.
The coffee table is the over-flow station for projects in-progress. A frame that hasn’t been completely painted yet. A book that we haven’t finished reading yet. A collection of word searches that hasn’t been finished yet.
And then there are the toys that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. For a while, we had a large Winnie the Pooh snow globe on the coffee table until the music stopped playing. Now there’s my son’s toy cash register complete with scanner, microphone, and small toy food items available for me to purchase.
I can think of no other piece of furniture that has been a part of our family for so long, changing to meet our family’s changing needs. For in its newest role, our coffee table has become our son’s illicit stage as he spontaneously channels his inner Michael Jackson and attempts a mini-moonwalk.
Any visitor to our home can see that our coffee table isn’t new; our rich cherry brown table has some noticeable nicks and scratches on it. I think of those marks as hard-earned battle scars, evidence of its wear and tear and durability.