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  • Writer's pictureJerri Lynn Sparks

That Time We Became Alright

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

Exploding Glass And Unexpected Serenity

Last night dinner exploded, in my hands, in my hair, on my clothes, on my face and all over the kitchen as I retrieved the glass Pyrex pie plate filled with salmon from the oven, splintering into tiny shards of glass at high velocity with a loud “POP!”, followed immediately by me screaming “Agh!” Silence followed as I stood there in shock at what had just happened. No one came to check on me…

I’m now down to two pie plates and about ten glasses (my experiment with NO PLASTIC CUPS in the new house is not going well because I have two little boys who toss things into the sink rather than place them daintily). I think of it as space saving since I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to bring in our frantic move this past autumn. So far I haven’t replaced any of the broken things – and I mean that both literally and symbolically. I am instead living with what remains, roughing it with a determined self-sufficiency and liking it for the most part. Simple is better.

As I was cleaning up hot glass shrapnel and scraping off salmon steaks from the oven door, it occurred to me that not a single one of my children came rushing downstairs filled with anxiety to see what was the matter. They simply kept on playing their games and their guitar, went on happily with their evening music as I made my own chaotic chorale finale and tossed dinner theatrically in the garbage. I ended up making chocolate covered strawberries and a bowl of ice cream for my dinner because it didn’t involve cooking.

At first I was ticked off. “How dare they not even ask me if I’m okay!” I thought. “How come they don’t offer to help me clean up this mess?” When they finally did come down much later it was to ask what was for dinner as I drolly handed them a bagel sandwich. I couldn’t get the hot glass out of the hot oven so the cleanup and new dinner was not happening that night. You’d think I would have learned by now not to try to bake frozen fish in a glass dish in a hot oven without thawing the fish first but my back hurts and I didn’t feel like making dinner to begin with.

Later my 14-year-old son would explain to me the physics of contraction and expansion as if I didn’t know that but had chosen for whatever reason (desperation?) to ignore it. “Yeah, Mom, I wish you’d have told me what you were doing and I could have stopped you.” Ugh. “Go play” was all I could muster at that little tidbit of teenage knowledge. The things my kids think I don’t know are hilarious.

I tried to suppress the memory of the only other time I’ve exploded something in the kitchen, a glass pitcher of Sweet Tea, Southern style out in Los Angeles, moments before my then in-laws were to arrive, with glass dust blanketing my hair and clothing. That one ended with me in tears and my wonderful then father-in-law insisting on taking us all out for dinner so I could catch a break. He was a real man: always loyal, always competent, always empathetic, always on time, always kind. I had hoped that was in my future too but it wasn’t. Some music is only played once in life.

This morning when I opened up the oven to see the remaining bits of glass I was no longer annoyed with my children for not coming to see what was the matter last night. Before bed they had told me they heard the ruckus downstairs and had simply thought I’d seen a spider. Hahaha! I guess I earned that indifference because I do go all Ninja warrior on spiders and for some reason get all powerful when I make guttural battle cries as I’m disposing of whatever ill-advised creature has dared enter our abode. I swear, if a snake EVER comes in here I will go nuclear if we don’t abandon the dwelling altogether.

But it occurred to me this quiet morning as I’m sipping my second cup of coffee by the peaceful window overlooking the postcard snow-covered backyard that my kids not coming to see the source of the chaos last night meant that they’re actually alright now. In the past 2 ½ years before we moved they would have come downstairs armed and ready for Fight Club. Julian had begun preferring the fireplace tools whenever any odd noise occurred and Grant was fond of the baseball bat. Madison would use whatever was near her as a weapon, just like her mama. (I would not want to mess with the four of us in battle mode.)

Photo Credit: Random Passing Stranger in 2014 The fact that it was just another day of passing lively noises in a happy home made me feel like “Okay, we’ve got this. We’re good.” And we are. I will remember last night, Valentine’s Day, ironically, as “That Time We Became Alright.” That is the best music to ever resonate in my heart. “Finem carminis.”

As I was cleaning up hot glass shrapnel and scraping salmon steaks from the oven door, it occurred to me that not a single one of my children came rushing downstairs...

Jerri Lynn Sparks, February 15, 2015 #Family

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