As I stood scrubbing my old pizza pan this morning, I studied the thousands of cuts that ran across it.
I realized that the thousands of cuts equalled thousands of memories from family meals.
As I scrubbed my old pan, I wondered if I would even pick it up at a yard sale.
I thought, well now that I know what all the cuts mean, maybe I would.
It’s not a dirty pan, as it appears to be, it is a much loved family heirloom.
I dried my hands and sat down with my notebook.
I thought about all the times I almost threw this pan away because of the cuts and I thought of how many times my husband had ordered me to throw it away.
I always said, “No, I won’t.”
I had already learned my lesson when he talked me out of my Guardian Service pans because he hated them.
I gave away some of my newer GS pans and he’d bought me a very expensive set of Faber Ware.
Six months later, I sold that set at a yard sale.
I was so grateful that I had at least held on to Mom’s and Nana’s GS pans.
He tried to cut the same deal when he promised that he would buy me a new pizza pan.
I told him that hadn’t worked out very well in the past.
I said, “You can buy me a new one and I’m willing to try it, but if I don’t like it I’m keeping this one.”
Over the years, he tried to bribe me with many new pizza pans and none lived up to the old one.
The day even came when he couldn’t find the old pizza pan and he panicked.
“Where is our good pizza pan?” he shouted from the kitchen as he tossed shiny ones aside.
I let him panic for a few minutes and then, I found it for him. I always keep it in the back of the pan cabinet in case he gets a notion to throw it out when I’m not looking.
As I handed it to him, I asked him if he remembered how many times he’d told me to throw it away.
I’m that kind of woman.
He’d laughed and said, “Just give me the damn pan!”
He’s that kind of man.
Originally, I had two old pizza pans.
When I was moving from Oklahoma to Florida and getting rid of stuff, my daughter Jodie Lynne said, “Mom, give me the pizza pans. Please?”
I looked her right in the eye and said, “You’re going to lose them, so I’ll give you one.”
She couldn’t have been happier if I had given her the moon.
“I won’t lose this!” she promised, and I had the familiar flutter of hope that she would learn to hold on to things that mattered to her.
That was ten years and many heartaches ago.
I know she no longer has the pizza pan and yes, every time I scrub my pizza pan, I’m glad I kept one, etchings and all.
This past summer, I gave her some of my grandmother’s and my mother’s antique Guardian Service pans.
I didn’t give them all to her, even though she had been sober for over a year.
Nope. I told her she has to prove that she can hold onto something before she gets the rest.
After she gave me the finger with her eyes, she laughingly agreed.
Before you judge me, this is my daughter who has repeatedly lost custody of her six kids and her freedom because of drugs and alcohol.
She has lost everything she owned, over and over, including all her baby pictures, the baby books we made for three of her kids, the handmade crocheted blankets that me, my sister and mother made for them and a box full of Christmas decorations that my mother had made through the years.
I’m not materialistic, but I’m obsessive about holding onto pictures, moments and memories.
In fact, I would give away everything I own and walk in rags with bare feet in the snow just to see my daughter stay happy and sober.
And when she is sober, this daughter loves every little bit of the good memory articles that I do and I guess that’s why I give them to her slowly and hopefully.
I’m always hoping, always praying, that this time will be different, that this time she’ll stay sober.
This month, with over a year sober, she quit the job of her dreams, could lose custody of the only child she has left to raise and yesterday, she called to tell us that the car we bought her a year ago, (so she could get back and forth to work) has been impounded.
Given the signs I know so well, my heart is freaking breaking.
I have four boxes in the attic for her.
They are filled with my own special Christmas decorations, knickknacks, doilies and doodads from Nana, Mom and me. Crafts that my daughter made for me when she was growing up.
She gets the stuff either way when I die and I just pray that she doesn’t die before I do because I know I will not be able to handle losing my precious daughter to the family curse. I will burn those damn boxes full of memories.
From washing my old pizza pan to sitting with my notebook, writing, hoping, praying and believing, “Dear Jesus, please save my daughter. Again. Thank you and amen.”
Update: Thank you Jesus, for my daughter’s life, for her strong faith in you and for her renewed dedication to sobriety.