I open the dishwasher as the kids are eating breakfast. We had people over for dinner the night before, and it is filled with dishes that are now clean. I start to unpack, first the bowls, and then the plates.
I pick up one of the plates and notice that it is a different shape to the others. I look at it, and a moment of familiarity rushes back to me. I have pulled this plate out of the dishwasher before. I have had this feeling of confusion and dread before. This plate was not always blank.
My son had once drawn a picture on this plate. Twice now. And twice it has been efficiently washed off by the dishwasher. It was the plate he drew on as one of the last things he did at kindergarten. Both times he drew a picture of all four members of his family, who now live across two houses.
I am devastated. The first time it was me that put the plate in the dishwasher. The second it was a well-meaning guest who somehow used the plate and put it into the dishwasher without me being aware.
I am devastated because today is mother's day, and day of remembering the family. I am devastated because the plate represented a memory my son has of a family together, a picture he said he would like us to put on the wall when we are all living together again.
I shed some tears, and wonder whether to tell him about it. I decided that it is better that he knows. Even if he is deeply disappointed, it is a good thing for him to feel, and I can apologise for my carelessness.
I tell him. He seems to only vaguely remember it, and to care that it is gone even less.
I wonder then about losing that picture, and why it affected my so much and him so little. Perhaps it is because he is able to feel what he feels in the moment, and then move on to deal with the next moment without nostalgia. I seem to be still processing my grief, and my son's picture a trigger for nostalgia and a reminder of what is lost.