We were unpacking boxes after my grandparents moved from their home they had lived in for over 40 years. My grandmother was moving into an assisted living facility, and my grandfather moved in with my parents. As I pulled a plate from a box, my grandfather said, “Nadine’s parents gave us that china for our wedding, I don’t think we ever used it.”
My heart sank.
They were married 50 plus years, and they had never used the china. Why?
It Was Too Good
You don’t pull out your china and crystal because it’s Tuesday, you never wipe your hands on the guest bathroom towels, and for heaven’s sake, wear your grungiest clothes if you’re not leaving the house.
Where does this belief come from? A cultural self-esteem issue, the emergence of a middle class that could afford a few beautiful things, or maybe it’s just merely an attempt to keep up with the Joneses.
My Own Issues
A few Christmases later, my husband gave me a beautiful watch. He has this habit of buying me much more beautiful things that I would ever buy myself. My first reaction was that it was too nice and therefore, I would never be able to wear it. I’m just a stay-at-home mom who was up to her elbows in diapers at that point.
Then I remembered the china.
I wear that watch every day, no matter where I am going or what I am doing. It needs a battery at the moment; I’ve got to take care of that.
Enjoy Every Day
I drink grocery store wine from my Waterford crystal. I serve myself Costco coffee in a Polish stoneware mug. I get dressed (most days) in clothes I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in public, and I don’t even own “guest” towels.
This may be my large family mom attempt at minimalism, but if I own something I want to use it. Storing my crystal somewhere hidden away for 50 years until someday my children pull it out and wonder why they never saw it is a complete waste. I would rather my kids look at the crystal and say, “Mom always drank her wine from these glasses.” With that kind of memory, they may want to keep them. Mystery glasses unearthed after I’m gone will quickly go to the Goodwill.
Life is too short. If I was gone tomorrow, I’m not sure anyone would appreciate my ability to keep pristine crystal.
So pull out your china and use it today. If you’re a rebel, you can even throw it in the dishwasher (just turn off the heated dry).
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