Monday, March 14, 2011

My Happy Plate

I have a plate in my cupboard that makes me smile every time I see it. Catch me on the right day, and it even has the power to make me cry. Yes, that’s right, cry. Weep. Snivel. Blubber. Bawl. Sob, even.

Odd to be connected to something as commonplace as a plate, is it?

Probably not, once you know the story.

I've had a connection to our local March of Dimes "Bowls for Babies" event in one way or another over the last five years or so.

It started when I worked at a local ad agency and met a woman who would become one of my very best friends. She worked on the account team, and I was a production manager. We worked closely on many, many projects for her clients. One was—you guessed it—the local March of Dimes.

That first year, we were able to provide pro bono work for the Bowls for Babies event. Only ever having heard of March of Dimes through television spots, I was excited and proud to watch my team create a great logo, followed by a whole bunch of collateral for the local organization administration and then the event, itself.

I don’t know if it was fate what we would call it, but shortly thereafter, C. had her twin boys way too early*. If it weren't for the years of commitment to funding of research by the March of Dimes, they might not be with us today.

If I thought the March of Dimes was cool before, I am now a life-long fan.

My favorite fundraiser will always be Bowls for Babies.

Local artists, art-students and a whole lot of "regular" people paint bowls and plates or mugs to be used at a soup-luncheon fundraiser. Individuals and businesses purchase "raw" bisque for a small fee (which I believe in part becomes a donation,) and a local paint-your-own-bisque shop owner donates her time firing the finished pieces. Then local gourmet chefs pull out all of their soup and bread stops, donating time, resources and unspeakable deliciousness to the event. Participants make a donation at the door and are granted entry. Once inside, they peruse the unique and often entertaining tableware to take home before enjoying a fresh, hot lunch and a whole lot o’ visitin’. 

Two years ago, I attended my first Bowls for Babies event here in Fargo. Appropriately, I did so with C. There must have been close to 1000 bowls and plates to choose from.

Hundreds and hundreds of men and women from all walks of life waited patiently to snake around the display tables, survey the fragrant offerings and find a table. Local celebrities, brand new moms, veteran fathers … everyone was there. (And by “everyone”, I mean, “I sat next to the mayor and his wife.” HI, DENNY!)

I had a wonderful time. I got to hang out with C. I got to see a LOT of babies. I got to have lunch with the mayor.

But that was just the surface stuff.

I got to see my community in action. I got to see the faces of those who have lived real, throbbing, gut-wrenching fear … and still had a little person to hold. It made me think of those who have lost children. Of those who love someone who is no longer with us in physical form. It simultaneously lifted me up and filled me with sorrow.

So yeah, it’s a plate. It’s got a little wear and tear, as much-loved objects often will.

But it’s a plate that’s come to represent love, endurance and mostly, faith.

There are initials on the back of my favorite plate. MJ, whoever you are, thank you.  
* In early 2008, C. wrote her first-hand account of the boys’ birth and first few years of their lives for NDSU Magazine. I was the one she called to proofread it. It was perfect. Not only in its tone, grammar and punctuation, but in the gift it brought me. We had been good friends through all of those years, but seeing her words on the page made me once again realize what a blessing that woman is. Not just to me, but to her family and everyone she encounters. To read the article, please click here


Becks said...

Everyone could use a good cry on a Monday morning. I know that feeling of which you speak.

Megan said...

That plate is perfect. So is her first-hand account. And so are those boys.