Monday, 27 February 2017

#Microblog Mondays: Alternate milestones

Everybody knows about the traditional milestones: birth, starting school, graduation, birthdays, engagement, wedding, first job, having children, retirement, death...(did I miss any?)

But what about alternate milestones: moments when you know everything has changed, but there's no official recognition? I have many of these in my life.

I was pondering an alternate milestone the other day: the first time you break one of a set of dishes. Mr Turtle and I did not need many basics when we were first married, so we decided to register at a handicraft store for a line of pottery I'd admired for years, but couldn't justify buying as a single person. It found pride of place in our new credenza in our new house and we used some pieces everyday while keeping most for special occasions.

One piece we use everyday is the sugar bowl. One day about six years after our wedding Mr Turtle dropped the lid and a biggish chip broke off. A few months later, on Christmas Eve in fact, I knocked the pepper shaker off a crowded counter and it shattered.

The pepper shaker will need to be replaced. But we still use the sugar bowl, and the other day when I was looking at it, it occurred to me the chip looks like AJ's bite mark.



One of the the cute things about when she started solid food was seeing her little crescent shaped bite mark on food.

I've become rather fond of the little chip and I don't think I want to replace the sugar bowl anymore. I don't want to break or damage more dishes, but at the same time it makes me think about what has happened since we were married, how things have changed, and how grateful I am for many of the changes, even though things (lots of things, not just our dishes) are not new and perfect anymore and never will be again. It's ok to be marked by time and change, and to be reminded of it.



More Microblog Mondays

8 comments:

  1. I love this! I love what that chip represents. Seriously, if that happened to me, I'd be left with busted pieces. Ha! But you, you have this adorable "bite mark" chip and can write this amazing post about it. :)

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    1. Thanks! It's all about how one frames things, isn't it? And there is a difference between "totally shattered" and "a chip or two." Keeping every broken thing would make me a hoarder, but living with a few fractured items and acknowledging it makes me feel like a survivor.

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  2. "There is a crack in everything,
    that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen.

    That's your conclusion - anything that breaks or gets worn is not representative of something ruined, but something loved, with memories. Love it.

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    1. It did take a while to shift from the perception of "it's broken; it's not what it once was so it's not good anymore" to the different interpretation. Also thanks for the Leonard Cohen quote. Comment win!! You know, I never interpreted those lines quite like that. I have always thought "perfect offering" was about striving for perfection. But I like how you apply it here: time and experience puts cracks in our initially impenetrable assumptions and that's how understanding begins.

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  3. I think it's great to find alternate milestones, since so many people don't experience all the traditional ones (birth and death are 100% guaranteed of course...at least until everyone starts living forever). You should keep your dish, it's only a chip anyway and it holds nice associations for you. I have quite a few glued-together things in my kitchen: it usually annoys me but they're things that can't be replaced (the plastic lid of my blender, a tank for the iron). Sorry, I got very boring and literal there. Keep your bowl with its baby-bite in it, keep it forever.

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    1. Thanks, I will keep it as long as it is functional! One thing I've also learned about valued items, and even things like clothes, is that they don't have meaning unless I use them regularly. So I have learned to risk breaking things, and accept it when it happens (more or less). I would love if my post inspired people to write about their alternate milestones. I would read that for sure.

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  4. I love this so much... I feel like breaking a dish, especially a special one or a hard-to-find or discontinued one, is a sort of heartbreak. But I love that the sugarbowl is still usable, and the chip looks like AJ's bite mark. I also love this: "but at the same time it makes me think about what has happened since we were married, how things have changed, and how grateful I am for many of the changes, even though things (lots of things, not just our dishes) are not new and perfect anymore and never will be again." So beautiful. Great message.

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    1. Thanks! Reflecting on the chip and also while writing this, I thought about how quickly we equate "damaged" with "broken" and "no good anymore". The analogy holds for a lot of things; not just dishes but fertility, for example. Is a person's body broken or useless or no good because part of it is damaged or even absent? Or is it Ok to be damaged or missing something but still functional? why not celebrate that the item/self is still capable of so much? (You can tell where my thoughts are....I always seem to circle around to this issue). To equate damaged with useless and broken seems unfortunate since as mortals, we are ALL going to get damaged irreparably at some point (some faster than others). On the other hand, the human spirit is does not face the same limits: it can be renewed and reset at any time. At least in theory. It gives me a renewed appreciating of the human mind and soul when I consider the limits of the body and other material things.

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