When Chris and I bought a house in 2012, we started buying eclectic geeky housewares. He got me a pizza cutter shaped like the USS Enterprise because I’m a huge Trek fan. We bought a plethora of pint glasses with superheroes on them, a few with Adventure Time characters, and even one from Princess Bride. The kitchen item he was most excited about, as a gamer, was a ceramic cookie jar shaped like the companion cube from Portal. We often kept candy in this since it wasn’t airtight.
When Chris died, I choose to do a lot of downsizing. I got rid of most of his stuff because, let’s face it—I didn’t need a closet full of men’s clothes nor did I need all his toiletries. His family and friends were given the chance to go through things before sending loads to Goodwill. Some things were tucked away for our girls as well. The cookie jar stayed, though. It was something we’d used—not just “his” although it wasn’t the one I might have picked. It was comforting to have that silly touch of his personality sitting on the kitchen counter.
Over the last year and a half, my girls have been old enough to amass large quantities of candy at holidays. I’ve been dumping out their Halloween/Valentine’s/Easter/Christmas loot in the Companion Cube cookie jar through the year. After meals they successfully ate, they knew they were allowed to get some candy. My older daughter would go grab the heavy jar from the counter, bring it to the dining room table, and pick her treats. My little one would pick her treats. Then one of us would put the jar away.
A few weeks back, I had placed the lid on the jar which was out of the ordinary. You see, they’d finally eaten enough Easter candy that the lid could fit again. Haha. Five-year-old Abbi took the jar off the counter and the lid slid right off, shattering all over the laminate. She was very apologetic and explained she didn’t know the lid was on there. I simply removed her from the kitchen so she would not get hurt and carefully cleaned up the mess. I let her know I was just thankful she was not hurt. I was a little sad but consoled myself, thankful that at least the jar itself was still intact.
About a week after that incident, three-year-old Aurora went to pull the cookie jar off the counter without help. She’s stubbornly independent like her mother, to a fault. She managed to make it halfway through the kitchen before she dropped it, where it exploded in several directions. She was unhurt but she was distressed. I rushed to check on her and then carried my barefoot child out of the room so I could clean the mess. This one was a bit disheartening. There were little chips of it all over the place in addition to a few larger pieces. Aurora wanted me to “tape it” or “glue it” back together. Poor girl. I explained to her that it was too broken and that we just needed to throw it away.
I had a choice in that moment. Much as I wish I was, I am not always a calm, rational person. I am far too often driven by deep emotions, particularly when it comes to heartache. Yet what could I do? The reason it was hard to see the cookie jar broken was because it felt like a link to my life with Chris. It reminded me of him. In the end, though, the cookie jar was still just a thing, just an inanimate object. Should I value a thing more than a living breathing tiny person? Should I yell at or punish my dear child who was simply uncoordinated? Of course not. I could have just as easily done the same thing.
Really, when you boil it down, I don’t need a cookie jar to remind me of Chris. His love is always written on my heart. I will not crush my children’s spirit over a broken memento of their daddy. After all—they are the most precious gift he ever gave me. Thus I remained calm and my daughters unfazed, knowing that the mess was cleaned up and that they were loved. I’m thankful the Lord provided the grace I needed.