small tribute

22/03/2016

Mother's dishesSetting the table for Sunday dinners, Christmas, or Easter – the big family holidays – was always a celebratory task for this girl with pigtails. Under my mother’s supervision, together we would enter her world of fine china and etched glassware. Guarded behind the glass doors of her ornate china closet, these were thrown open on the special occasion or Catholic feast days.  Gently I lay each dish in its proper place with its proper placement. Always, the roses greeting the guest. Looking at each piece – a crescent of gentian blue forget-me-knots embracing pale pink roses bursting forth – infused me a shiver of joy and pride. Each piece became a mirror of the next, until the table was a field filled with wildflowers. Throughout the years from girlhood to adolescence, I never grew tired of this ritual. Processing around the table, dish in hand – each one an invitation – I knew in my heart that these objects held more than a meal. They held my family together.

Mother to daughter, this tradition became my world, too.  Unpacked from the brown cardboard boxes, her wedding dishes came to live in our rough, cherry cupboard – a $40 purchase from a stall at the Women’s Farmer Market. My husband and I, living far from home, began our own tradition of family dinners with dear friends and neighbors.

The wooden doors have been closed on this part of my history for some time now. The children are grown with their individual sensibilities – roses not among them. The dishes are still and silent, stacked – albeit lovingly – at the bottom of our windowless cupboard. Sentinels.  Waiting.

This year I find myself able to accept that my future and that of my children belong only to each one. Once again, I wrap each piece and fill the cardboard boxes.  They are my past, and I am letting go – releasing the objects, but keeping their love. They are ready to go elsewhere, to live another life. A new family with new traditions to grace the table of strangers.  Fresh eyes to see the beauty in the bouquets of roses and forget-me-knots. Kind hearts to infuse love into what was once, a long time ago, my mother’s best china.

Advertisements

One Response to “small tribute”

  1. Sally Says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Tina. I can visualize that little girl, that mom, that table.

    Like


Share a thought

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: