How many times have you heard or read the sentiment ‘use the good china’? For years I’ve thought of this statement and I’ve tried to embrace it. It makes sense, enjoy the good stuff now. Stop waiting for the right time. The time is now.. blah blah blah. It’s like, ‘buy the shoes’ or ‘eat dessert first’. I get it! I do. Seize the day, celebrate the moment. I’ve always wanted to be that person. Easier said than done.

The issue wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to use the good dishes, I did. The issue was using the good dishes meant risking them getting broken. So the good China was tucked away into a hutch and saved for ‘special occasions’. After my husband and I got married I bought a more expensive set of dishes from Pier 1. Somewhere between my usual Target price point and a Williams Sonoma splurge I found a set of dishes I liked and could picture serving dinner to my family on. Three teenagers and one toddler later and the first bowl got chipped less than 3 months after the purchase. I was pissed… no livid! I interrogated each kid. I scoured the kitchen for the missing chipped piece as if finding it would lead me to the guilty party. And I distinctly recall a dramatic exclamation of ‘this is why we can’t have nice things!’ I declared that no teenager shall ever touch my ‘good dishes’ again and we stopped using them.

Somewhere along the way two more bowls met the same chippy fate and with each discovery the same anger would wash over me. Hadn’t I made myself perfectly clear!?!! We are NOT using the GOOD dishes, damnit. I would holler and there were probably some tears {God I hate how materialistic I can be}. If my family can’t even respect my nice ‘everyday’ dishes how on earth can I ever trust them with my ‘fine china’??

And then Emma got sick. For all ten of you reading this right now who are somehow related to me or work with me you clearly know who my Emma is. But in the off chance this piece finds itself into the hands of a total stranger I should probably tell you that Emma is my 15 year old daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 13. The thing is, before Emma got sick I used to write things. I created a blog and was super proud of the day my first {and only *cough*} piece was picked up for publication. I thought I had important things to say. Opinions that the world would surely need to hear. And then my daughter got sick. I stopped writing. And not because i didn’t have the time on my hands. Trust me. Countless hours, no days {actually weeks} were spent by her hospital bed. I had sooo much time on my hands. But somehow what I had to say no longer mattered. And after awhile it seemed increasingly difficult to even string along a coherent sentence. So the writing stopped. For nearly two years I have been silent and during that time I’ve had several people reach out to me and encourage me to write again (which means more to me than you could possibly know). Emma’s illness, nearly losing her, a marriage changed, becoming an entirely different woman/parent/spouse, the battle that is childhood cancer that’s all good material, right? But It just wasn’t in me. It wasn’t on my heart. Sure I had some lengthy Instagram posts over these last two years, but to add something to the blog it just wasn’t going to happen. And then today as I unloaded the dishwasher while the toddler napped I found it again.

The bowl was on the bottom rack, clean and still warm to the touch. As I lifted it up into the cupboard it turned just right in my hand and there it was. A new tiny chip. Another one bites the dust. But for the first time there was not one ounce of anger. There was no investigation. There was no interrogation. None.

I’ve realized a lot about what is important over the last two years but today it hit me like a ton of bricks… or more appropriately like a stack of chipped cereal bowls. I’m still hard headed and hot tempered. I still lose my shit over things that other moms let roll right off their backs. But since being plunged (kicking and screaming mind you) into the world of childhood cancer I’ve watched fellow cancer mamas bury their babies, I’ve written my child’s obituary in my head more than once, I’ve felt a depth of despair that was so unfamiliar it scared me, I’ve felt my heart break into a million pieces in a matter of moments. There is not a cereal bowl on earth that can compare to that.

Shit gets broken.

Stop eating off of the paper plates and use the good stuff while you still can.

This post originally appeared on MyBlenderLife.

My name is Steph Reinhart and I’m a full time wife, mom of 4 (three teens and a two year old, God help me) and Emergency Room nurse practitioner from the Midwest. I found the world of blogging five years ago but took a two year hiatus after my 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. I’m slowly but surely making my way back to Me and finding my love for writing again. Somewhere between the Pioneer Woman and Fixer Upper you can find me at or on Insta/Facebook/Twitter


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