My mother used to scold me for whatever mistakes I made when I was younger. I received it for everything, whether I spilled flour, broke a plate, or stained my clothes. At the same time, I was one of those youngsters to whom this happened on a regular basis without malice.
My mother was despatched to congratulate a long-retired former colleague on her anniversary on behalf of the workshop. I had to accompany my mum because there was no one to leave me with.
Grandmother was about 75 years old, and she had a lovely porcelain service with little pansies on the wall. For visitors, as expected. The woman chose to serve us tea, and as I spun around, attempting to assist, I smashed one of these cups.
My mother slapped me across the face and began shouting. I sob, terrified of another crack, and my lip twitches. Then the grandma grabbed my shoulder, pulled me away from my mother, and told her
“Stop shouting at the baby. What’s the big deal? And would I have to shout at you if you smashed the cup?”
Mom felt ashamed and remained silent.
“A painted piece of glass is not worth a child’s tears or your anxieties,” the elderly lady added. “Consider this: there was a service for six individuals, and now there are only five. Yes, more than three will never occur to me. And even if they do come, what makes you think they’ll drink from conventional cups?”
Then she poured tea into a new cup as if nothing had occurred. When we arrived home, my grandma wrapped the saucer that was missing in a pair of newspapers and presented it to me.
I no longer recall her name, but this lesson stayed with both me and my mother for the rest of my life. Of course, she would never confess it to me.
She is no longer living, and the saucer is now in my possession. When my children are misbehaving, my gaze is drawn to the delicate stem of pansies, and I no longer want to yell…