It’s Okay To Cry Over A Bowl

To most people, this is a bowl.
To me, this is Christmas.
Every year, this bowl would appear full of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. And for the next month, it was used constantly for every batch of cookies we made in my parents’ kitchen. Then after Christmas, it would disappear back into the cabinet, kept safe for next year.
A few years ago, it became the victim of cat ownership and shattered. I’d never seen my mom cry over a broken item before. But I knew the story of this one – it had belonged to her great-grandmother, a woman she loved fiercely and continuously sang the praises of. And this was a piece of her, one of the last pieces, in pieces all over the kitchen floor.
She wasn’t upset over a bowl, I realize that now, she was experiencing grief all over again.
Last year, the holiday season looked differently.
But I hyper-focused on finding a replacement for that bowl. Not because I thought it would fix anything, but maybe if my mom had it, Christmas wouldn’t be as hard for her. And I found one – it was rough with all the Pyrex collectors out there, but someone listed it for $8 because it was “only good for making cookies” and no good to a collector. I ran out the door to get it the second I saw it.
I planned on having it on the counter when my mom came home from the hospital. We could make the cookies we always did together. I had it all planned out. I was so excited.
But the day after I picked it up, I spoke to her for the last time instead.
A year ago today, I spent the entire day forcing doctors to talk to me so I could explain things to her better. A year ago today, I left for a few hours to go to a doctor’s appointment, only to come back to her in the ICU. A year ago today, I held her hand and told her what Evie’s name was going to be. She squeezed my hand. Visiting hours ended and they made us go home.
A year ago today was the last time I saw her.
I came home and that bowl sat on my counter. A gift I never got to give. It hadn’t been anything special to me. It was just a bowl. But in the same way my mom grieved when her bowl shattered, I was now grieving over a bowl.
Making cookies was the furthest thing from my mind, but that bowl was one of the only parts of her I had. I’d do anything to spend more time with her, even making cookies I didn’t want to make. And I did. Too many by anyone’s metric. But that’s exactly how many you were supposed to make – way too many.
I’ll do the same thing this year, using that bowl again, and the stained recipe cards in her handwriting.
Please, please hug your loved ones for a little longer. Don’t wait to tell them what they mean to you. Don’t wait for the perfect chance to give them gifts. Just love them now.
And remember, it’s okay to cry over a bowl.

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