On a rack above our stove hangs a little collection of my pride and joy. I still remember holding that magical registering gun in Crate and Barrel, spending a disproportionate amount of time in front of the brushed copper Calphalon pots.
"How much work are they really?" I asked the sales associate. Because I knew full-well that copper needs to be maintained to remain beautiful. But perhaps there was a difference in brushed copper? Or maybe there had been technological and design advances in the copper pot field that I was unaware of? Really I knew she'd tell me that it was a completely manageable chore and that she'd convince me it was made easier by their overpriced version of copper pot polish and that before too long, I'd be pulling the trigger on that set of pots and pans.
It would be a labor of love, I thought. I'd keep our copper pots beautiful in our perfect little kitchen where we cooked perfect little dinners as a perfect married couple. Then one by one, my copper pots trickled in, checking themselves off the registry and becoming mine. Excitement was bursting out of me; if I'd put my excitement into one of the pots and covered it with its glorious stainless steel lid, even then it could not be contained. And then there was one pot that alluded me--the dutch oven. We spent the whole first year of marriage without that bad boy; but the gent, ever seeking to make me happy, he added it to my collection one day for a complete and beautiful set.
I kept them beautiful for a long while. In fact, I polished them after every use. And then, slowly but surely, I learned to except the beauty in leaving them after a few uses. Copper actually yields brilliant color after it's been heated, and I liked the idea of my pots looking as though they'd been put to good use. You guessed it. Then, even before I became too busy with life and motherhood really, polishing my copper pots was no longer a labor of love, rather something that stood in my way. It was a daunting and unnecessary task. I quit worrying about the beauty of my copper pots and focused on their functionality. They became dull and speckled in places, but oh, how nicely they still cooked! And that was good enough for me.
It still is, mostly. When I'm feeling outrageously motivated, I pull down the pots and polish them, restoring them to their former glory. Some I can scrub until they look almost brand new; a few require a bit more effort and elbow grease; and some, despite my best attempts, never quite look the same. But they're still usable and beautiful in their own rite, and something that I cherish, knowing how much I wanted them and all those who contributed to giving me something that I wanted that badly. I've got memories attached to those pots, silly as it sounds.
And you know, not to get too philosophical or anything, but I've learned a bit of a life lesson from my copper pots too. Because, see, sometimes in life, things go exactly as planned. Our days or efforts or ideas are shiny and perfect in all their glory, perhaps even with seemingly little effort. Other dreams are fulfilled with a little extra elbow grease and care. But sometimes, oh sometimes, there are those things in life that allude us. It doesn't matter how hard we work or try or hope, it just doesn't happen the way we want it to. That doesn't make a life or a dream any less beautiful or usable or special. It's just a matter of accepting things as they are meant to remain, speckles and dulling and whatever.
I have so much going on these days, dreams riding on what seem like very fine lines, and all my effort and polishing being poured into projects. I've got my life's rubber gloves on and I'm scrubbing away. Sometimes it's exhausting, but I'm still working to make something beautiful. And no matter what the outcome, over these past few years, I've acquired quite the collection of memories in this life, a collection given to me by all those who have loved me and believed in me.
For that I am so grateful. And also for my copper pots.