At some point after our kids were born I quit really caring if a glass or piece of pottery was broken. It happened a lot, especially when the kids were younger. I figured I could almost always replace whatever was broken and if not, it really didn’t matter.
That’s not to say I don’t have a twinge of sadness when something I really like is broken. Most things I really like are put in the china cabinet and only looked at. If they are taken out of the china cabinet and used, I make sure that I’m the one that washes them. (Dean and the kids seem to think that everything is “dishwasher safe”.) I have a china coffee cup with a cedar waxwing on it that my Mom and Aunt gave me when I graduated from grad school that I only use on special occasions. I have the remaining juice glass that was from a set given to me by Frances Lide that is not used anymore. Its 5 companions were broken one-by-one because we used them when the kids were young.
I have several lidless sugar bowls because Dean has a knack for breaking sugar bowl lids. I’ve given up buying new sugar bowls anymore, knowing the lids would soon be broken.
Today I carefully removed a beautiful heavy crystal bowl from the bottom shelf of my china cabinet. It’s always the perfect bowl for fruit salad, and I’d made a lovely fruit salad for a brunch I was hosting this afternoon. The bowl was a wedding gift from, Rita, a friend and co-worker from my days at Bartlet Learning Center. Rita and her husband lived in Lombard, Illinois where a lilac festival is held every year. She knew how much I loved lilacs so she and her husband bought me a lilac bowl for our wedding. I remember how pleased she was with this gift, mentioning it more than once. The box it came in had “Lilac Bowl” in handwritten on it in black block letters. The bowl, however, had no lilacs on it. It had something that looked more like tulips decorating the outside. I still thought of it as my lilac bowl, however, since that is what Rita said it was. Either the box held the wrong bowl or the bowl was meant to hold lilacs.
Anyway, today it didn’t hold lilacs. It held fruit salad. When the meal was over I carefully carried the bowl into the kitchen, spooned the remaining fruit into a covered container and gently placed the bowl into the sink, turned on the faucet and squirted some dish detergent into the bowl. I heard a muffled crack, but couldn’t see what might have made the sound. After washing the bowl and pouring out the water I saw a crack running around the side of the bowl at about the mid-point between the bottom and the rim. The crack then climbed upward and ended (began?) at a small chip near the rim. The chip had been there for many years — I don’t remember where it came from, but it turned out to be the bowl’s downfall.
As sad as I am about this, it is just a bowl. A bowl with a little story, but just a bowl.