I heard the ceramic shattering on our hardwood floor. Before I could even see what happened I knew it was the sound of my favorite little flower pot breaking into a million pieces. I ran into our family room and saw three small faces (my children and our dog) staring at me. It was clear no one was hurt. Then I spotted the shards of ceramic on the floor. I moaned loudly, “THIS is why I can’t have nice things!” My four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son instantly blamed our new Labrador retriever puppy, a cute and likely culprit. However, like all mothers, I knew it was my precious children whom I had told to stop roughhousing only moments earlier when I went to get a load of laundry from the dryer.
I’m normally a cool, calm, collected person, but that broken flower pot nearly sent me over the edge.
It wasn’t anything particularly fancy. I got it for $5 at Gabe’s. It looked like a whimsical tree stump. I happily planted some jade in it once I got it home. I put my little flower pot on a side table in our family room and I found myself staring at it while I did the dishes in the kitchen. Why did it make me so happy? I have no idea. Maybe Marie Kondo has the answer to that. Sometimes our things do spark joy. Or maybe it was because it felt like the rest of our house was starting to fall down around us. We’ve lived in our home for 10 years. It wasn’t until we added a second child and a puppy to the mix that things really seemed to come apart. The kitchen table and chairs are a disaster from sticky fingers, spills and constant cleanings. The puppy chewed a hole in the family room carpet probably trying to eat all the snack crumbs crushed into it. Then there’s the hole our dog chewed on the bottom of our couch. And the spills, diaper leaks, spit ups and all manner of other disgusting things on the upholstery. Before you think we live in a pigsty, we actually OWN — and use — a carpet cleaner. My husband drags it out and cleans our carpets and couch with some regularity. I’ve even written about one of my dirty little secrets right here on Knoxville Moms Blog. I’m a stay-at-home mom who has cleaning ladies. My husband and I think it’s crazy to replace our furniture and buy a new rug. We keep telling ourselves, “If we can just get through the toddler years…” (Are we fooling ourselves?)
Eventually I got over my broken flower pot (or so I thought).
I replanted my jade in an old pot I found pushed to the back of a shelf in our garage. It’s even thriving in its less than exciting new home. But recently, the memories of that special flower pot came racing back. My parents came for a visit and my daughter asked her Grandma Rose to sit with her after we tucked her into bed. Those two always have a lot to chat about. The conversation that night turned to the broken flower pot even though it happened weeks earlier. She confided that it wasn’t our dog that knocked the flower pot off the table. It was her and her brother. My sweet girl then said, “Mommy thinks she can’t have nice things. That’s why I want to get her something really nice for Mother’s Day.” (I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I write this.) When my mother told me what my daughter had said, I instantly felt terrible for the scene I made over my flower pot, but part of me was also happy. My daughter realized she did something wrong and wanted to make it right.
Whatever I unwrap on Mother’s Day I will be sure to say it’s a beautiful “really nice thing” that I always wanted. I will cherish it even if it is a painted noodle necklace. There are so many lessons and reminders about motherhood I learned thanks to that broken flower pot. (They’re always listening, aren’t they?) I think my daughter learned some lessons too. No doubt, there will be other broken flower pots in our future, but I’ll look at them a little differently now.