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
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
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