Living Through the Cracks

Heather - Magnolia, Arkansas
Entered on May 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

I believe in cracked Spode.

Nothing says “special occasion” to my family like my grandmother pulling out her fine china. The soft cloths and sensitive formula dish soap come out in full force to protect the fine china from scratches as she cleans the dust acquired by 363 days of sitting in cabinets. For once, not even my grandfather is enlisted for assistance as my grandmother undertakes the task of liberating the china for its use during Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.

The crusade for the china was reduced to a small invading force a few years ago when she cracked a Christmas teacup. Now these plates have become the normal dinnerware of the entire Christmas season, all because of one crack in an unused teacup. Even though my family now sees the Spode come out in droves the Friday after Thanksgiving, the china still feels special.

As much as people try to protect their china, displaying its perfection from lofty china cabinets, there will still come a day when that teacup gets cracked and the once revered, used-twice-annually china becomes a more normal sight. Somehow, even after the “commonness” of the china’s presence is established, the plates never lose that “fine china” tag. Mothers still warn the children to carefully place their plates in the sink. To break a plate is still the ultimate wrongdoing, and dinner still has that special, semi-formal feel.

Life is much like that fine china. Babies are sheltered from any possibility of injury. They are toted around in frilly dresses with matching bows designed to extract compliments from the unsuspecting passerby. On certain days, like birthdays, these children become the center of attention. Then the babies fall and scrape their knees, the bows, aided by little hands, defect from those precious heads, and those all-about-me days morph into a few well-wishes and a dinner of choice. After these “cracks” are acquired, life, while still the most celebrated possession in existence, becomes less fragile. This is when life is really lived, when people climb down from that sacred china cabinet.

That infamous cracked teacup is still in one piece and, if it doesn’t get filled to the rim, it will still function as a teacup. Just like every other person adventurous enough to risk some “cracks,” I am that teacup. Despite all the hardships I have and will go through, I am still here. These “cracks” make me the person that I am now. If I’d been too afraid to risk pain or disappointment, I would still be surrounded by a world of Styrofoam covered corners and baby-gated hallways, trying not to “crack.”

People can’t spend their entire lives avoiding “cracks.” If they spend too much time in the china cabinet, when they finally do get “cracked,” they “break.” While the china cabinet is the safest place from which to watch life go by, I believe in cracked Spode because watching from the china cabinet can become an awfully lifeless place to be.