In the last week we were talking with our future exchange students about embracing the things that go wrong, the mistakes, and the embarrassments, as these are the moments that provide not only the best learning experiences, but the best and most memorable stories. I've been thinking about this story for months, and now I think I have the right words :)
Des came into this world with some misfortune. My nan and aunt were doing a lot of ceramics work at the time of his creation, and after being slipcast, Des's pieces went into the kiln for firing. Something went wrong in that violent heat, and he fell over, sustaining terrible, project-ending injuries.
My aunt assumed he would be heading into the broken pottery bin, which is fair enough - he wasn't as perfect as their work usually was. But my nan saved him. He was still perfect to her, even with his imperfections.
So she repaired Des's broken foot with a cast.
She painted him beautifully (as always), picking out his cuts and scrapes with red paint, and even made some miniature bandaids to cover his wounds.
She sewed him some tiny warm stripey flannelette pyjamas. My Pa, a talented woodworker, made Des this special stand, with a built-in crutch since he had a broken foot.
And then Nan named him Des. Why Des? Because he had a Des-aster Day.
My nan and pa have now both passed away. We still all have things that they created in their busy, crafty lives - a stamped copper coffee table; a snoozing cow on the door lintel; miniature dresses for dolls the same as we children wore; beautifully turned spare toilet roll holders; crochet blankets ...
But I think the most precious thing I have of theirs is Des. He sits up on my piano, maybe getting a little dusty, but always smiling.
He is always here to remind me that no matter what:
everyone, everything, every moment,
has a place, a value, a use, and a beauty,
even if it's a bit broken.
- Michelle xx