A repurposed vase full of maternal guilt

Fifteen years ago, just shy of his 12th birthday, my son Charlie traveled to Egypt with his Grandma Peggy and his Aunt Kathy.

The once in a lifetime trip proceeded smoothly, though, under my mother’s strict we’re-in-a-really-foreign-country-and-God-knows-whether-this-food-is-safe-to-eat dietary guidelines, Charlie lost 11 pounds.

Apparently, cucumbers (because you peel them) and dry bread made the Grandma Peggy approved list.

“But, really, Egyptian cucumbers are just delicious,” she said when she returned with my temporarily skinny son.

Charlie hauled his luggage into the house and immediately pulled out a souvenir he had purchased for me.

Touched, I accepted the brown paper bag.

“It was the first present I bought,” Charlie said.

“He bought it at a museum store in Cairo and carried it all through Egypt,” added my mom.

I listened to their stories as I unwrapped a gorgeous and very fragile vase.

I held it up to the light so everyone could see it.

I thanked him profusely and complimented him on his taste and ability to transport such a delicate piece all that way across the world.

I told him I loved it.

And then…I dropped it.

For a while, I couldn’t stop talking about how my son, the kid with paws like a giant puppy, carried a beautiful vase all the way from Egypt and I broke it.

I gathered up the beautiful shards, sealed them in a Ziploc bag, put it away and, eventually, I stopped dreaming about the moment it slipped through my fingers.

Then, this weekend, I attended the Christmas Open House at Urban Evolutions and noticed pieces of art made with broken china plates.

Broken glass.

Broken glass.

I had a little moment of cold, sweaty panic and I told the story, again, to my shopping companions, one of whom I’d just met.

“When did this happen?” she asked.

“15 years ago,” I said.

“Well, I think the statute of limitations on that particular parental guilt is probably up,” she said kindly.

“It won’t be up until I figure out a way to resurrect that lamp,” I said.

I’m not crafty, but I know people who are. I thought about hiring one of them to turn my broken glass into a work of art. Then, I decided to go it alone.

I dug out my bag of broken glass and gave it a look see.

“Let’s take a little ride, my Egyptian friend,” I said and we hustled off to a foreign land, our local craft store.

I roamed through aisles, held my baggie up against various vessels, strongly considered turning it into a Christmas ornament, and ended up with a small candy dish and a fat candle.

Once home, I slid the glass pieces into the candy dish, popped the cap on, and topped the whole thing with the decorative candle, an operation that maximized my artistic capabilities.

And, there you have it; a 10-minute repurposing project finally excised 15 years of maternal guilt.


Mom, Charlie Kathy in Egypt
Grandma Peggy, Charlie and Aunt Kathy pictured here with another hearty bread and cucumber meal, had a wonderful time in Egypt.
Egyptian vase 007
Shortly after Charlie presented me with this beautiful vase, I dropped it. It stayed in this Ziploc bag for 15 years.
Egyptian vase 010
I put the shards in an empty candy dish, popped the cap on, and topped it with a decorative candle.
Egyptian vase 013
Then, I placed it carefully in our dining room cabinet, where it will remain locked for all eternity.
Egyptian vase 016
I really do love that beautiful vase, and the sweet kid who gave it to me.

2 thoughts on “A repurposed vase full of maternal guilt

  1. That was a great trip! As the person who was really only invited along to carry the backpack filled with safe bottles of water, I have so many stories I could tell. My favorite food memory, though, is probably the pizza at the Mena House hotel. Thank God pizza was on the approved list. Nice work on the vase – that picture makes me want to dig up my scarf again!
    Sherpa Kathy

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