We bought our kitchen table and chairs despite the faux-distressed look: regular nail holes at the same two places on every chair back, the stain rubbed away at the same spot on each rail. They were the right height and shape and a nice dark stain and I could live with the small fake imperfections.

And I must confess I was a little distressed when the first real scratch happened, just months after the purchase—our first real furniture acquired before we were even married. The pale slash across the seat of one of the chairs was a terrible wound.

But tonight I pause before I turn out the kitchen light and I notice the myriad little marks on the chair where Bella customarily perches. All the little dings from her plastic booster, the smear of yogurt on the back, the tiny little scratches from eating implements and daily use. I pause and I smile. These are the marks, honestly won, that no designer can imitate. These are the marks that say: Here there be children.

And I am sure this table, if it survives the next decade, will win many more such honest battle scars. And look more and more read, more and more loved. Because it will say to my mother’s eyes: Bella was here. Sophia was here.

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  • I remember how much I loved this book, and I didn’t play a lot with dolls – a little here and there, but not too much. But oh! what a lovely book it was!

    I wonder if I still have it packed away?…