Thursday, September 13, 2012

Crying over Broken Dishes

When I opened the door to the upper cabinet, it took a split second for me to register the crash that followed.  I was startled, of course, and started examining my hands and arms to see if there were more than just a few teeny cuts from the resulting shards of glass.

Earlier this summer I had bought a large, low, white porcelain bowl to hold tomatoes from our garden on the counter until we had a chance use them.  (And please let me pause here for just a moment because I really like the sound of the words “tomatoes from our garden” and the implication that, yes, this year my vegetable garden was more than just a fleeting thought.)

I had been trying to find a place to store this new bowl, now a totally unnecessary task because the square Pyrex baking dish and oval serving dish that took the leap from the second shelf had landed on top of the new bowl, shattering everything.

Later, as I was relaying the story to my Mom on the phone, I started to cry.  The oval dish had been a wedding gift from some family friends.  It was hand-painted and they had carried it back from a trip to Wales.  I used it often, especially when I was entertaining as it was the perfect shape for serving roasted asparagus, one of Michael’s absolute favorites.

David happened to walk into the room and saw me crying, so I cut short the conversation with my mother.  “Mom-mom, why you cry?” he asked me almost immediately.

“Because I am sad, David,” I replied, not even attempting to explain my sentimental attachment to a serving dish.  “Are you ever sad?” I added.

And with that simple question, it was like watching the dark clouds roll in with a fast moving spring thunderstorm.  David’s whole countenance changed as he closed his eyes and big tears came rolling down his checks.  It was almost as if my sadness had passed through him.

Of course as David’s Mom, I never like to see him cry.

But I must admit, the fact that David has that capacity—to see me sad, to feel my sadness and take it as his own—that is something a therapist noticed in David at a very young age and apparently is a skill that is nearly impossible to teach a child with autism and for that, I am extremely grateful.


  1. Oh Kathy.... as usual, your words move me on so many levels.

  2. Wow. I'm with Kelly (above) only more. The great loss of yes, a material item but one with great emotional value....replaced with the recognition of a great gift (posession, talent) of David's which is worth so very much more. The kid never ceases to amaze me. And your way with words inspires me.

  3. Now I am crying too! That is an amazing story, and I'm encouraged to hear about David's sympathy! I'm sorry about your dish though!!!