The grief of an unlived story

I have been thinking about plates this week. I remember when I first saw them; orange, yellow, blue, and green gathered in perfectly color coordinated stacks. Each plate had a cupcake in its center, with its flavor written whimsically in cursive below. I immediately was in love. They were on sale for 2.95 a plate, and for Anthropolgie that was a steal! I, of course, bought 20.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved planning parties and hosting gatherings. Thinking through the table and what it communicates is like cotton candy for my imagination. Everything always has a special meaning and each detail holds significance in some way. When I saw these plates, they already had a plan.

People asked me why I purchased so many and I would delve deep into the unwritten story that I knew would one day become a reality. “I love these plates. I know I bought 20, but just think of the perfect birthday parties my children will have. They are cost effective really. None of this paper plate stuff that you have to buy every year and throw away! No way… Can you just imagine the table?” I continued as if I were writing one long run on sentence. “There will be color and whimsy and life and celebration and every year, we will use THESE plates. Tradition will be formed around these plates, my daughter will get them down and as she does she’ll recall her last birthday and the memories that came with it. She will, of course, smile as she places them for the birthday about to be celebrated. The proud birthday boy yells from across the house, ‘hey mom don’t forget the plates!’ I will then smile, ‘oh I won’t! Your sister already has them out.’ Can’t you just see it now?!… OOOOO I’m so excited!” I was giddy at the thought of all the good these small round ceramic pieces would hold.

I put the plates away, on the highest shelf. They were not today plates. These were dream plates. They were plates with a story written into them before they were ever used.

That was nearly 20 years ago.

As Mother’s Day approaches I keep thinking about my plates. They, still found on the highest shelf, have only been used once or twice. The dream told by the vanilla, mocha, lemon, and strawberry cupcaked plates has now passed and I am left with a shelf holding 20 colorful reminders of a dream not realized.

Mother’s Day. A day as innocent and perfectly necessary as celebrating a birthday, but sheesh! It also holds the annual reminder of a dream gone by, a hope turned hopeless, the death of a little one, who for a lifetime made her a mother, yet she only held her baby for one short hour of post-pardon life.

As the week sneaks its way to Sunday, I have decided I am going to pull the plates off the top shelf. I am not quite sure what I will do with them, maybe I will let them tell a new story? Or, perhaps they will tell a story of a different kind of motherhood?

No matter what story they will tell, I will receive them as a gift from a dreamer. I will celebrate the dream, come true for many. And, I will grieve with those for whom the dream was not realized, dashed in incredible grief, or is still awaiting to be fulfilled with great anticipation.

Mother’s Day is a day as dynamic as spring time in Colorado, may you, reader… friend… mother…sister… brother, enter into this day with honesty, holding the dream and the dreamer with great care, honor, and celebration.

Cari JenkinsComment