Monday, March 10, 2014

Shattered

I just broke a jelly jar, and it was the best part of my morning.

This is not because I've had a particularly bad morning. Yeah, it's the first Monday of daylight savings time after a one-day weekend, but I got up early enough, saw a 70-degree forecast, and am enjoying a balanced breakfast of sugary coffee and flaxseed oatmeal. But the jelly jar smashing on my kitchen floor was the highlight.

Trust me, it made a mess. The glass shattered into tiny slivers and menacing shards, one of which sliced my hand during clean-up. And the sticky strawberry goo had a blast radius far greater than was convenient. Happiness and gratitude weren't my original reactions as I got on my knees to clean up the mess. But the scenario brought me back to a similar one over two years ago when I accidentally broke a ceramic bowl in almost the same spot. It shattered, too. But at that point in my life, it felt like a metaphor. My miscarriage was fresh, and I felt like my whole world had shattered, just like the bowl did. And I fell to my knees on the kitchen floor and sobbed.

It was the first time I truly let myself feel all of the out-of-control emotions that were inside me. I screamed. I banged my fists on the floor. I smashed the bowl into even smaller pieces. I had never done anything like that before, and even typing the words now, I feel embarrassed of my madness. But it was real, and the brokenness continued and intensified for months until I finally found ways to heal.

So this morning, cleaning up the shattered mess, I reflected back on that moment and realized that this one today was not frustrating or annoying. As I picked up each speck of glass, I thought of Zuzu and her safety, imagining her crawling and pushing up to a stand in that very spot. I thought of the reason I needed the strawberry jam in the first place: her first birthday party, which is less than two weeks away. I looked at the small cut on my hand and smiled, seeing it as a reminder for the day of my job as a mom while I'm at my job as a teacher. Now, when things shatter, it's easy to see that so much has been put back together again.

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