When I was in middle school, my Home Ec teacher (yes, I grew up in the days when Home Ec was a required class for girls) gave us stickers as rewards. My favorites were the scratch-and-sniff stickers, shaped and scented like fruits – strawberries, oranges, grapes. I loved them so much, I’d find it nearly impossible to actually use them. I knew that once they were stuck, they were stuck; and what place was worthy of such a fabulous sticker?
To be honest, I’m not sure I ever stuck them anywhere – just carried them around, forever trying to decide when and where to use them. Like the fancy soaps that sit in soap dishes, looking way too fancy to actually use. And yet, isn’t that the point?
A friend of mine invited me to be part of her multi-family yard sale next weekend, which gave me the push I needed to visit our attic, ready to clear out the clutter, reevaluate what’s “needed” and what’s just taking up space, and find a home for all those odds and ends, too good to throw away, but that no longer fit in my life. While rooting around, amidst the outgrown clothes, broken lamps, and Christmas decorations, I found the china my parents gave me as a wedding gift and for each anniversary after that, until we had 8 complete place settings.
Our house is small, with no dining room (just an eat-in kitchen), and even if we had a dining room, we don’t have a china hutch where the dishes could be displayed. And even if we had a hutch, our house shakes when my boys barrel down the hallway, so things are forever wobbling or shifting on their shelves (not a great environment for breakables). Oh, and then there’s the fact that I can count on one hand the number of occasions each year when someone other than my husband or my sons eat in our home; and none of those occasions is a china-worthy experience. So the china hasn’t seen the light of day – most of it still wrapped in the gift paper my mother used – until today.
What am I waiting for? In what universe does it make sense to keep these beautiful dishes locked away in my attic? If I haven’t used them in the 16 years I’ve had them, what makes me think the “right time” is ever coming? I know people have these epiphanies every day, but I swear when I realized that I could give myself permission to use my china, I WAS GIDDY.
So, out they came. It was like a combination of Christmas and my birthday and the best yard sale ever, resulting in new dishes! And I was such a practical bride (someday I must tell you about that) that I chose a china pattern that’s oven safe and dishwasher safe (wait, can something so practical even be called china?), so the only threat to these beauties is, (gasp), daily use!
Go ahead and laugh. I did. So did my husband … and then he cooked a frozen pizza and served it to me on our china.