The Blessing of a Cracked Plate

27 Nov

Last night at dinner, my husband noticed that his plate was cracked all the way through. It didn’t leak, but we knew it was time to throw it away. That moment was bittersweet for me. We’ve used those plates for over 18 years, and before that they belonged to my husband’s grandma. When they were purchased, they were the top of the line, I’m sure. They were used to help raise my mother in law and her brother and they were used to help raise my children. I know it might seem overly sentimental to some, but those plates are a part of my children’s history, and I’ve loved them as long as I’ve had them; the dishes and the children. Over the years we’ve lost a dish here and there to slippery fingers and old age, and last night’s loss meant I could no longer feed my family of five with any one size of the plates that remained. It was time for a change.

Fortunately for me, our local Ikea store had a sale and I now have service for twelve that cost me about $40.00. The plates are plain white and beautiful and will grow on me, I’m sure. I’ve never owned so many everyday dishes, and it is fun to wash them and decide how they will fit in my cabinets, but I am still attached to the old ones. I was deciding how to pack up the dishes to get rid of them when something occurred to me. Next year, my college age son intends to live off campus and will be needing dishes. As a boy, he probably won’t care how many plates and bowls he has of each size as long as he has something to hold his food. So, I packed up the dishes, and they will wait until he needs them. I’m glad I can pass them on.

It also occurred to me that passing those dishes to my son is similar to raising him and sending him to college. I’ve loved the dishes, and they’ve been an integral part of my life, almost as long as my son has. Now it’s time to let them go. My son has been a huge part every single day of my life since the day he was born and now he’s away at college. My normal has changed. Our family normal has changed. There are so many memories of family dinners associated with those dishes, and there are so many precious memories of my life that include my son, but there comes a time when you have to let go. There comes a time when things change whether you’re ready for it or not. Dishes are easy to replace, but the piece of your heart that leaves when your child goes to college is not. Instead, both of you grow, hopefully, and you let the memories of a life well lived together take each of you to your next best place.

For me, I find solace in writing and sharing my realizations and epiphanies with my readers. Without it, I don’t know what I would do, but I doubt I’d see the blessing in a silly old cracked plate. Because I share, I see that the dishes that helped raise him will nourish him again just as I pray the lessons we taught him as he grew will nourish his heart, mind and soul through his life. Both are filled with hope and happy memories and love, lots of love. Is it crazy to think that dishes hold such power? Maybe, but today they do for me, and as I gently put them away for my son to use in the near future, I’ll say a prayer for him and for all the sons and daughters like him, that they remember their roots as they soar to new heights and know the love of a family truly is the wind that will keep them aloft no matter what storm they fly through. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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