This month, I’ll write about things for which I am grateful. My first post relates to the recent celebration of my son’s wedding.
September 29, 2015
It’s a good day to wash vases. My kitchen sink faces the back yard. From this vantage point, I can see the Hawaiian Ginger plant that took off after my mother-in-law snuck it home in a paper towel on the plane from Hawaii. Hummingbirds flit back and forth between the tree and the feeder on the back porch. I line the vases up on the kitchen counter, and one by one, I baptize them in the hot soapy water, gently scrubbing off the price tags.
The whole clan has been collecting vases for the last year and ten months. That’s how long our son has been engaged. The most expensive vase was twenty-five dollars, and the least was two dollars. We found them in antique stores and Goodwill’s and thrift stores all over south Texas. We needed twenty-two of them because the rehearsal dinner will be large. We wanted it that way—people are more important than money.
I start with the five black and turquoise tumblers that inspired the rehearsal dinner design. I know they’re not vases, but they’ll hold water, and that’s all that counts. Hot soapy water removes most of the purple price tags. I turn one over. It says, “Dryden, Hot Springs Arkansas.” I’m surprised, because I hadn’t looked at the bottom. As I wash each of the unique vases in turn, I find other surprises. This one’s from Colorado, this one’s from Mississippi, this one’s from Germany.
I think about my son, how he’ll be a married man in just a few more days. I think about what they’ll collect along the way; joyful times, yes, but also real grown-up situations. Sick children when you both need to go to work, feeling grumpy just because, and taking it out on the person you love the most. Mortgages, taxes, insurance. Along the way, he’ll have tumblers that need to be vases. He’ll need to baptize his life regularly in the cleansing water of trust and faith in his new wife, in his own ability to be a husband, a father, a son. When something is unnecessary and it sticks, it will need gentle scrubbing. He’ll need to notice the surprises at the bottom of his circumstances, because that’s where the joy comes from, the places you didn’t expect.
I’m grateful for all the help that rallied round when I had fifteen vases and the wedding only two weeks away. Vases came from all over the place, from the loving hands of those who scoured their local thrift stores for their finds. After the wedding, they will take their favorites I suppose. But we all know where they are. The collection can be righted again in a short time.
I know, too, that my son has this same force to rally round if his vases sprout holes. And for that I am most grateful. He and his brand new wife will be actively loved, not just by me, not just by my husband, but by a wide circle of family and friends who will be there if the need arises. Together, we’ll see them righted in time.
The day is mild and sunny. It’s a good day to wash vases.