You may or may not have noticed the gorgeous china I use at every mealtime. Our china is Portmeirion and is not cheap. I have a very normal, and probably more clumsy than normal family. Needless to say, china gets broken. Frequently.
I remember when the older ones were little, probably about two, they used to launch the china over the stair gate which separated the kitchen from the living room. They thought they were being helpful. Alas, Portmeirion does not bounce, preferring instead the rather noisy alternative, smashing into smitherenes.
I was asked time and time again, why on earth I used it. Surely with three under threes it would be more practical to use plastic. Yes. Absolutely. I could not disagree with that logic.
Only, sometimes, as parents we do not always choose logical. Instead we choose love.
‘Hold on a dilly darn second!’ I hear you cry. ‘What on earth has love got to do with what china you use?’ A good question. And the answer is ‘probably nothing.’
Only, about twenty years ago I watched an episode of Oprah. Oprah was interviewing a single older lady who had adopted a boy who came from a lifetime of poverty. She shared with Oprah how she laid the table with her special china every night, and cooked a meal full of love for her and her adopted son to sit down to. She explained that had she shared her best china with only her guests, it would be sending her son the wrong message. She wanted her son to know that HE was the important person in her life. That HE was worthy of her best china. He was important enough for her best china. That in fact, he was the absolute most important person in her life.
‘ A child needs to know that he is the most important person in someone’s life, and the person best placed to show this is a mother or father.’
Thinking about it makes me cry even today. That little boy, who had known nothing but abuse, poverty and neglect his entire life, sat down to a feast every night served on the best china the mother could afford. This lady influenced my parenting in more ways than I know how to explain.
This. This is the reason for me using my best china each and every meal. Yes, it get’s broken. But I am not precious about it. The children do not get told off when (not if) they break it. We never have an entire dinner set. My list of missing pieces seems to get bigger, not smaller each year. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. The photos I have posted were all taken within the last six months or so. Memories with the same people, the same china and the very same happy smiles. Memories which will hopefully last forever.
My goal every day has been to give my children the best of me, whether that be by using the best china, or sitting and snuggling with them, or making every day events a special occasion. There are a myriad of ways we can let our children know how special they are. They don’t need to be the most expensive, but they should always be our best.