Yesterday I had a delightful Mother's Day. My husband made the evening really special and let me take a 2 hour nap too. The gifts I was given were such a surprise. I received a beautiful butterfly necklace from my daughter (she paid for), lunch out (today) with my oldest son (he paid), and 5 Willow Tree figurines from my husband and children. I love each one. I have a couple Willow Tree pieces I have collected over the years. The first piece was from my sister J.L. (my older brother's wife). I cherish it and though it was meant to be a Christmas piece I keep it out all year. It reminds me of them and makes me smile...It's name is angel of wonder. The second piece I call my darling #2 son's. He was about 2 when he broke it in the store and I paid for it and brought it home. Fortunately it only fell into 3 pieces, was easily fixed and always reminds me that CHILDREN are more important that figurines. We still laugh about that one! Then there is the piece I cherish...It is called Tenderness and it is a mother holding a child (about 18 months old). My mother's best friend bought it for me when my mother passed away. Last year my "second Mom" bought me a piece called Close to me...it is a Mother and Daughter and she got it to remind me of my mommy and I. My darling husband added 5 more beautiful pieces to the collection of Husband and wife, Mother and children and parents and newborn. Each is beautiful, each is loved. But the two pieces that were gifts to remind me of my mother are the most sentimental.
Today I decided to arrange all my Willow Trees together. I got out the dust cloth and moved my pieces carefully. Then the nightmare began. As I wiped the glass shelf in my cabinet it came loose and fell... It didn't just fall, it fell on two of my pieces. As I looked down at the floor 5 feet below I don't know how the new piece my husband bought me didn't break into a million pieces...maybe it is in the name...It is called Promise. But there was my Tenderness...all over the floor in shards, a pile of pieces. I threw myself to the floor and began to weep. Only two of my children were home and I began to cry and scream... Just give mommy a minute PLEASE!!! They left the room crying and I thought, "Some kind of Tender mom I am." But the tears continued. The pain of Mother's Day and not having my mom with me bubbled over and I could not contain it. I cried and cried. Then I went to the computer to order some NEW TENDERNESS...because obviously I needed some.
I heard my four year old in the back ground saying no, no, stay here. Then my 2 year old said, "I want to see mommy, she is sad, she is sad!"
My husband came home to the pile on the floor and offered to sweep it up, encouraging me to press the purchase button, stop crying over spilled milk and be done, move on.
But something compelled me not to do that. I went to the pieces and sat on the floor. Soon it became evident that though it would never be the same and there would be a mystery hole in the back of the piece from pieces that either I could not find or were too small... maybe the sweet spot that hit the ground first...I got the glue and went to work.
There is no denying that "Tenderness" will never be the same. But 5 feet in the air, with a glowing light behind her and her babe...I doubt you would know if you visited...that is, unless you got really close. In the back of her dress there is a gaping hole. I could not hide the hurt or the destruction that occurred.
There are really two lessons here (maybe even more...but two I will share...)
1st Lesson: Life is about putting back the pieces. I am a lot like "Tenderness." My mothers death left all of us children like shards of glass, in piles of pain. Why? Because she loved us so and losing her was a GREAT loss. But I have such faith in my chance to see her again. I know that I will. And it doesn't make the missing ok, or even make me feel better some days, but it makes it bareable...almost. Life is rough! There are breaks, cracks, pains, loss, hurts and saddness. But we can put the pieces back together. Sure, it will never be the same (in this life), but it can still be something good, something beautiful. Just like my "Tenderness" still can bring me some peace, light and joy. And honestly, with her hurts and scars, I think I might love and appreciate her even more.
2nd Lesson: We can't always see the cracks, the gaping holes in the heart, the broken dreams of those we meet. So be kind. Seek to build. My mom used to say, "Be a light, not a judge." I love that. As the dim light in my cabinet behind "Tenderness" illuminates the quality of beauty she still has, it will remind me to Be a Light. Because REALLY Life is about putting the pieces back together...again, and again, and again...
Changing the world...ONE letter at a time.