My husband broke a plate yesterday.
He didn’t do it on purpose. He dropped it just a little too hard into the sink and it cracked right in two.
I heard it crack from the other room and instinctively I knew that one of our dinner plates had met its demise.
I walked into the kitchen and saw the cracked plate into the sink and my heart hurt. His eyes caught mine and I knew he felt the same.
See, his grandmother bought us those plates.
Years ago, when we were young kids, freshly in love ready to start our lives together. We had just bought our first house and my husband’s grandparents wanted to buy us a house warming present.
The four of us went to the mall one afternoon and we wandered the houseware stores.
I remember the way she picked up the plates and examined them closely to make sure they were good quality. I remember her smiling and agreeing that the dishes we liked were so nice. I remember her standing at the counter, pulling out her little change purse and counting out each bill until she had just the right amount to cover it.
We walked out of the mall with a brand new set of dishes to start our life together. They were the first things we put in our new kitchen cupboards.
She was so happy to be able to give us this gift.
Those plates have seen us through many Sunday family dinners, Mother’s Day breakfasts in bed and Friday night pizza nights. I have spent too many early mornings, in a groggy new baby daze drinking coffee out of the matching mugs. There have been ice cream sundaes, Saturday morning bowls of cereal and hot chocolate and cookies after a Sunday afternoon spent on the skating rink. Those dishes are a staple in our lives.
Those dishes have seen us through our entire married lives.
Every time one dish breaks my heart hurts a little.
We live in a day where people ask for money instead of gifts. For weddings, showers and new babies it’s not uncommon to receive an invitation that states monetary gifts only please. It’s been years since I’ve been to a birthday party where presents have been opened in front of guests so that they can share in the joy of gift giving. Everyone wants exactly what they want and they would rather buy it themselves than give someone else the joy of giving a gift.
While it’s nice to pick your own glassware and cutlery sets there is something to be said for the memories you have when someone special buys you a gift.
My husband’s grandparents won’t be around forever but every time I eat dinner with my children. Every time I drink a cup of coffee. Every time I eat a piece of toast I will remember the day my husband’s grandmother stood at that counter and pulled out her little change purse counting the money to buy us a housewarming gift.