i was having a day. the kind of day that makes people tilt their head to the side and without a word hand you the wine out of their grocery carts upon realizing you are in the toddler years. with this toddler, no suggestion was acceptable. the mere mention of two options to choose from elicited screams of NOOOOOOOO and arms crossed and loud stomping in the customary hello kitty rainboots that anyone with keen fashion sense would pick on a 94 degree day. we had had a day and neither of us were singing it’s praises nor each others. we needed to retreat to our respective corners and have someone squirt water into our mouths and put a towel around our shoulders before heading into the next round.
we are potty training currently, which i cannot for the life of me figure out why the government hasn’t adopted as a legitimate interrogation technique (you won’t talk huh? well here’s your two-year old to potty train knock on the glass when you’re ready to talk), and so the flailing and emotional breakdowns are blooming like spring flowers after a thorough rain. after sitting her on the potty she began to flail and then go limp followed by stiff and throw her arms at any surrounding objects and that was when the bowl broke. this bowl, made in the pottery class my mother and i took, shot across the bathroom counter and flew into the sink splitting in two. and i just grabbed my mouth and started weeping. there were really only two substantial pieces that came out of that pottery experience- my lovely bowl and a tiny little cup that i intended to be a pot for a plant but kept getting smaller and smaller as i messed it up. after serving years as a guitar pick holder it is currently holding q-tips- like 10 of them.
when she saw me upset she said “awwwwwww i break your bowl?” and i said yes she broke my bowl to which she replied “mommy’s sad”. now look, i have spent at the veryleast 9 years making rainbows out of compost piles. your necklace broke shazaaaam now you’ve got two fabulous bracelets! Someone was super-rude today at school and hurt your feelings? here’s your favorite dinner ever; what a fabulous turn of events! you lost your very favorite rock? let’s take out the paints and dress up these other rocks and then send them out to find your lost friend! as a mom your heart breaks when theirs does and you can’t make everything better, but you can make some stuff better and so you give it your all.
the important lesson i am trying to impart on my lovely tiny humans in this particular season is that sometimes the only thing you can do is be with people. so i told nora may yes mommy is sad because i really liked that bowl and the memories it brought up to see it in the bathroom. she said “awwwww… momma…i sorry i broke your bowl.” and i said i forgave her and knew she didn’t mean to and that it was an accident but it was sad and i would love a hug to help me feel better. she gave a good snuggle and we read some books and headed to nap.
when you major in turning frowns upside down or bringing cheer where there is sadness it becomes a bit jarring for you yourself to walk through the hard. can i cry here at my broken bowl or am i supposed to smash it to pieces in order to make a mosaic and write some fabulous poetry about the beauty that results from being broken? well, the answer to that may change based on the day, but on this particular day i needed to cry a good round of tears out of my personal inventory and know that i can still cherish the time spent with my mom in the class and that i didn’t ruin every piece attempted and let it rest.
today i am going to attempt to glue the bowl. things break. bowls. people. relationships. and you are left mourning the beauty that you once enjoyed but sometimes the reality is that you need to piece back together what was broken. my bowl will not look as it once did and it will not be proof that i can make something beautiful out of pottery but instead it will be a sign that all is not lost and the new bowl can still remind me that a new beauty is always waiting to be realized.
where is your bowl today? if it broke in two and you need to weep a bit and mourn the loss then grab you some tissues and settle in. give yourself room to be sad and let someone you love in, sharing that you may need a snuggle post-tear/snotfest. or, are you holding a hammer? does this memory and experience need to be totally rediscovered in a new form? then put on your safety goggles and loud music and bust that junk up. don’t try to plan what will result, just bang away knowing that season of that bowl has passed and there can be incredible beauty in it’s new form. don’t rush the process. maybe today is smashing day and you will sit with the pieces for quite some time before recreating it. grab your gloves and smash away. when you have sat with the sadness or the pieces of what once was long enough then grab some glue and piece by piece my brave soul begin to make something remarkable. it may never be what it was, but maybe we are done with what it was and need to begin to enjoy what it will be.