Inside and Inside


The end of the Record jostles all sorts of things, smallest of which is my own blogging schedule. The Messy Table has been a good place for me to organize some on my thoughts and archive some of our family landmarks.  Alongside the finished pieces, I have an appropriately messy file of blog ideas – some connected with upcoming life events, others just questions or observations I feel should be woven in somewhere. I’ll find new homes for some of these scraps. I might even continue blogging, though right now I feel strangely daunted about doing that outside the cosy walls of the Record site. However that works out, when the Record lights go off at the end of November, inevitably some plots and plans will fall by the wayside.

For example, next June the Spouse and I will be celebrating our 15th anniversary and I thought that might be a fun opportunity to think about wedding presents. (Okay, so not everything in the scraps pile is obvious shiny right away. Many need polish.) I wanted to write about gifts because they are symbols of love and hope and many of them are also practical. That seems like an interesting mix. At first, wedding presents are shiny and new and so terribly grown up. Mostly, we didn’t receive physical wedding gifts. We didn’t register – much to the chargin of many generous aunts – because we were off on an adventure and didn’t feel like we would be really setting up a home for some time to come. Friends gave us Mountain Equipment Co-op gift tokens (genius) and kindly stuffed envelopes (very, very useful), but some of our near and dear decided that we were being silly and would need sensible things somewhere along the way. Sensible things like stainless steel mixing bowls. I will out and out say that these bowls are our most used wedding gift. They are not glamorous or celebratory, but I use them every day.  I seriously do. Then some days I use them all.

Over the weekend, I made a pumpkin pie. Well, that’s a little bit of an understatement. It was a marbled pumpkin cheesecake pie with gingersnap crust. It’s a recipe from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook and it is perfect. But, what with separating eggs and making cheesecake and pie filling and crust, I used all my bowls. I should have taken a picture of that table. So very deliciously, cluttered.

The next day, we got around to scrubbing the kitchen and when we were done, I stacked the bowls back together again, all shiny and clean. Then just for a moment before putting them away, I held them in my hands. There is something lovely about their nesting. Something beautiful and balanced. They fit.

Maybe that’s a good hope for all our gifts and scraps. We can hope that they will find places to belong. That they can be good things inside things inside things. Like symbols in a story or stories in a heart. Like my hope hidden inside my children, giving them courage when they need to be strong. Like my own mother’s hope inside me. And her mother’s. And her mother’s. All that hope and love smuggled away down the generations, all that perfecting nesting.



About Katie Munnik

Katie Munnik is an Ottawa writer currently living in Cardiff with her Spouse and three growing children. Each Monday on the Messy Table, she writes about the practice of reading lectionary and the practical theology of parenting - from birthday cakes to broken hearts and everything in between. Katie also writes Kaleidoscopically, a monthly column in the print edition of the Presbyterian Record. You can also find Katie on twitter @messy_table Subscribe to this blog.