The Plates

Plates   I’ll be packing up my plates soon, wrapping them well and putting them in storage for the next few years. There’s nothing flashy about them. They are earth toned, with leaves on the rim. I think I was nineteen when I bought them for a dollar each at Walmart.

But I’m a little teary thinking about setting them deep in a box and not using them again for a while. These plates were my first step towards independence, and now they’re chipped and etched with memories. They held the first meal Mike and I had together as newlyweds in our own home. I can still see my mom on my couch, balancing Thanksgiving turkey and potatoes on one of those plates, laughing a joy blessing over her grandchildren. They have been part of every birthday, every holiday, every quiet meal as my family has grown.

I know they’ll still look like they always have when we eventually pull them back out.

But we won’t.

We’ll be wearing more years and experiences on our faces. Our girls will be taller, and their lives in PNG will have grown them in ways we can’t yet imagine.

We’ll have new plates in Ukarumpa, probably nice ones. They will hold birthday cake, Saturday morning toast, rice and beans. They will know the fingerprints of friends who will become more like family. And I can hardly wait.

In the grand scheme, dishes really aren’t a big deal. But, for now, I need to give myself permission to remember and, yes, even cry over plates.

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