now I’ve done it….

After almost 12.5 years, I have finally done it.  I broke one of my china plates.  Ugh.

When this happened, I was washing plates after a successful neighborhood Christmas party.  One plate slipped out of my hand and crashed into the sink, breaking the plate it smashed into.  It was merely a bread and butter plate but it still made me sick to my stomach.

I stood there feeling sorry for myself and then it dawned on me.  I was really upset about the demise of this plate.  Why on earth would it be a loss of any sort?  After all it is ONLY a plate.  A mere object.  In the days since the “incident”, I have wondered and thought about the importance of said plate.

Part of it is a sense of pride.  We have schlepped our china, crystal and silver to three states in the southeast without incident.  We have packed and unpacked and packed and unpacked again.  We have not used them as much as we should have but we have used them some.  Regardless, I was always satisfied after each meal and move that nothing from this precious collection had been damaged.

After more consideration, I realized why these silly things are of such an importance to me.  They symbolize the beginning of my marriage.  Really?

When Robert and I were engaged, we went to Bromberg’s to register for china, silver and crystal.  For those of you who are not familiar with Birmingham, AL, Bromberg’s is a family owned jewelry and china store that has been around for decades.  Many people register there when they get engaged.  For some, it is a rite of passage.  Receiving one of their signature silver boxes with the beautiful ribbon is almost as good as a box in Tiffany blue.  Anyway, Robert and I stood in Bromberg’s facing a wall of china that bordered on intimidating.  After a few minutes of silence, Robert said “there’s only one up there that I like.”  I agreed completely and I would have said the same thing if he hadn’t spoken first.  We had the same experience with the silver and crystal.  It felt like a sign.  The patterns we chose were not the favorites of most couples at the time.  They were not the “in” patterns to choose.  They are simple, elegant and beautiful.  They were perfect for us then and still are.

Once we had signed up for what we had chosen, I started to look around the store at the other brides who were there to register.  Most of them were with their mother.  Only one other groom was there and he looked like he’d rather be having oral surgery.  His fiance had also brought her mother and the two women were picking out everything while the poor groom was counting tiles in the ceiling.  Was I the only one who wanted to experience this with my fiance?  Was he the only one who felt the same?  Did no other couples enjoy doing these things together?  I was astounded and awash with gratitude.  Robert seemed to pick up on all of this.  He gets me.

So, call me what you want.  A sap, overly sentimental, whatever.  It doesn’t matter to me.  The broken plate is not a sign of anything anymore.  We have weathered many storms in our time together and I’m sure there are many more to come.  We have always emerged stronger and surer of our love for each other.  One little bread and butter plate is not even a blip on the screen, nor should it be.  But I’m sure I’ll be more careful washing in the future!

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