It’s small and butter-yellow. When we first moved in and I was in rapid-fire nesting-mode, I spent the better part of every moment, while sitting in the passenger seat in the van, or waiting in the grocery store line, or during long late-late nights, tucked into bed, scrolling through Etsy, through pages of knick-knacks. I spent afternoons, wandering the aisles of Goodwill, picking up and putting down, every not-quite-right dish.
It’s a sugar bowl, folks. It sits on my counter and holds my sweetener.
Six months after finally finding it and ordering it from a vintage shop online, the lid split in half on my kitchen floor. It was either my husband, Vinnie, or the kids, and I remember coming home to it one evening, sealed back together with thick seams of Gorilla Glue, drying on my counter.
So much for that.
Earlier last week, Evie pulled up a stool and stood beside me at the stove, as I lowered eggs into a pot to boil. She broke her nose earlier this summer, in most dramatic fashion, her five-year-old body, spinning and flying free from a rope swing, and her small face crashing into the back of a swing set. This morning, her wound was covered in a mask-like splint, crisscrossed adhesive strips marked her face in a sticky X, stretching from cheek to cheek. Still, she smiled up at me and asked, sweet as ever, “can I help you?”
Just over her shoulder, I caught a glimpse of the gorilla-glued bowl on the counter.
“Sure, Evie,” I nodded and let the last egg slide from my fingers and into the pot, “can you get me the sugar bowl?”
She did, and then marveled at me, as I placed it on our wooden floor and then tried to find where the light would hit it just-so.
“You’re taking pictures of that?” she asked, gobsmacked and tilting her head practically to her shoulder, when I reached for my camera.
“I know, but, I like it.” I laid belly down on my kitchen floor and snapped a shot. “And, it still holds the sugar.”
She shook her head at me and called me weird, but still laid down on the floor beside me to try and see what I was seeing.
We both forgot about the eggs.
The cracked bowl, is my marriage.
It’s my motherhood.
It’s my friendships.
It’s my children.
It’s my heart.
I’m having a restless, introspective, can’t run far enough or fast enough, summer of breaking, of being broken.
And something about seeing the cracked sugar bowl, there on the counter, just past the splint-covered nose of my daughter, shook me.
When they did the surgery on Evie, they had to physically break her nose, to make it right again.
Last week, I brought her back to Boston to have her splint removed. She cried and clung to me as he tugged the adhesive strips from her cheeks, but when the splint was lifted, I was the one holding back tears.
She was broken, but to be made right again. She is still herself. A small scar will be her gorilla glue seam, a reminder of this summer… but even that will fade. Someday.
And the sugar bowl, yes, it was once in pieces, scattered on the floor, but it’s been lovingly pieced back together. It won’t ever look the same, but it still holds sweetness. It’s broken, but it hasn’t lost it’s purpose.
It has become a story, an unexpected reminder for my soul, by just sitting in morning sunlight on my counter.
Breaking isn’t always an end, it’s a beginning.
The cracks aren’t where you’ve been split, they’re where you’ve been touched, they’re where you’ve been hurt and then healed.
The cracks aren’t where you’ve been shattered, they’re where you’ve been held together, by a strength greater than your own.