No More waiting-today is good enough
Life is a Special Occasion
The morning of my mother’s funeral I moved mechanically around my childhood home, preparing the house for guests. A friend had brought a coffee percolator; so I went hunting the corner cabinet for some cups. What remained was a motley collection: two plastic mugs, bright orange; the same green pottery mug I remembered Mom bringing to Dad in bed each morning. Nothing that would do for company. I walked over to the lowboy cabinet just off the kitchen that held my parents wedding china and slid open the door. The china had a whiff of the forbidden. The set was eggshell white, the plates, a spare elliptical shape. I’d never seen it used. Even for the best company, it was always the rustic brown plates-for friends, for Dad’s clients, for holidays. I thought back to when I’d cleaned out my grandmother’s apartment after her death, discovering a wealth of untouched luxuries: vials of Lanvin perfume, beautiful clothing with tags hanging, endless crystal squirreled away. All the while, she dressed in threadbare polyester pants and ate off cheap plastic plates. I was not immune to these habits. My best clothes hung in my closet, waiting for events of great enough consequence. Good wine was never opened-which occasion was weighty enough? I even had my own unused formal china: the gold-rimmed set for 12 I had rescued from my grandmother’s place. It had gone from her dark cabinet to mine, still waiting. I knew I was breaking some sort of rule now as I reached into my parents lowboy. I removed the fragile cups two by two and arranged them carefully on the counter. Dad had been wandering around the yard, lost in thought. Now the door slammed as he strode inside. He looked at the counter. “Not those,” he started to say. He picked up one of the cups and looked at it. In that moment, we both had the same realization: whatever we’d been saving them for was never going to happen. He put the cup down and walked out of the room. The first night after returning home, I made dinner for my family, then set the table with my grandmother’s green, yellow and gold china. No occasion, no guests-just my husband, me and our 3-year old daughter, eating a decidedly ordinary meal of roast chicken and sweet potatoes. And I noticed something: Finally using those plates made them seem less imposing, and yet more special. They became something truly useful and beautiful Now I put out that set of china whenever the mood strikes. Because always saving one’s best things for a better day, a different day, carries with it a judgment: that the life you’re living right this moment doesn’t count; that it isn’t good enough. And I’ve decided that it is.
My thanks to Erin Patrick for helping get this into a format that could be shared with you, please visit her at http://mynuggetsoftruth.blogspot.com/ All moms should read her post “The Greener Grass is Astro Turf” it is an awesome article.