When I was a baby, my first words were “bite butter” and my Poppa cheerfully obliged. When I was a toddler, I had a cup with a bird whistle on the handle that said “WHISTLE FOR MILK.” I loved that cup and blowing the whistle made me break out in peals of laughter. When I blew the whistle, my Grandma would scurry over to my highchair (I was only allowed to have the cup in my highchair.) and pour a little milk in my cup. Once I drank the small amount of milk she gave me, I’d blow the whistle again and she’d give me more. This went on until I’d had enough milk. Each round accompanied by my squeals of delight. Once I’d drunk my fill, I would stop blowing the whistle. Grandma would look at me expectantly and I’d shake my head. It became a game for us.
Clearly, my love of dairy started young. This story isn’t about that, though. This story is about love and the painstaking task of putting that cup back together again. Sometime, I don’t remember when, the cup was broken. I probably dropped it. I’m sure I was crushed. I likely cried as only a brokenhearted toddler can.
Someone, I don’t know who, took the time to painstakingly glue the pieces back together, even the very small slivers. My Mother, who kept the cup for me for years, says she didn’t do it; she says my Grandmother would never have taken the time to do it, and that my Poppa didn’t do it. She has no idea who did. My guess is that my Mother is wrong. I think it probably was my Poppa or my Grandma. But, really, who it was doesn’t matter.
What matters is that today, that cup with its fault lines has pride of place on my desk. I look at it whenever I work. That cup, cracks and all, is as precious to me today as it was when I played the milk drinking game with my Grandma. It’s more precious because someone who loved me, because one would only take on this effort for someone they love, took the time and demonstrated the incredible patience necessary to glue the cup back together again. When I look at that cup, I know I was loved. Bonus, I can still blow the whistle, but now the milk is almond milk and I pour it myself.