When packing my apartment to make the exciting move into co-habitation with My Love, we were going through kitchen pots, and my Calphalon 1.5 qt. sauce pot came up on the block for either keeping, storing or donating. My Love, being the well-equipped, supernal cook, has a few of these already, so it was up to me whether I wanted to keep it. My practical self automatically blurted out, “Storage,” and we went on to the next item. Like a freight train out of nowhere, I felt this surge of emotion, tears welled in my eyes, and my heart was in my throat. I looked up at him and said sniffling, “Wait. I got that pot as a wedding gift.” For a minute, he looked at me with an honest bewildered expression of “… and?????” Then I explained that I’ve had that pot since 1996. It’s seen its share of sauces, soups, potatoes, pastas, et cetera. I’ve made some important life decisions while standing over that pot waiting for the water to boil, the pasta to become al dente and scrubbing it clean from the dishes that went horribly awry and burned. How can I get rid of it when it’s been such a part of my life?
Now, I do not want you all to misunderstand me when I currently claim that the kitchen is my place to EAT and not to COOK. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a pretty good cook. I have a whole bunch of Calphalon and Le Creuset to prove it. More importantly, I actually loved to cook. But after being single for so many years, these awesome (and expensive) pots got used less frequently because it was easier for me to eat out or eat take-out. Cereal, taco-flavored Doritos and ham sandwiches — no pots required! They also were gathering dust because I do not get any personal satisfaction of cooking just for myself. It would be nice if there had been someone else there to increase my self confidence with praises of how delectable the meal was, not to mention the real enjoyment of a meal shared. So over time, my love of cooking has dwindled, but the Universe conspired in my favor to introduce me to a man for whom cooking is an exciting pleasure and who loves to satiate me in all things culinary … and in all other things too.
After he understood my attachment to this pot, he asked if I wanted to change my mind and bring it with us. So I gently placed it in the “keep” box. After thinking for a while, I came to a realization. First of all, OMG, it’s a freakin’ pot. Get over yourself with this attachment to a piece of anodized, non-stick aluminum cookware. I mean, it wasn’t blessed by the Pope and it wasn’t infused with the Dali Lama’s inner peace. If so, it wouldn’t have burned that cheese dip I tried making years ago. It’s just a pot I told myself, and an old one at that. But then I thought deeper. It represents a part of my past when, except for a few years of happiness, the majority of that period was not the best of times. Let it go like you let go of the past, I thought. It’s just a prop in the chapters already read, not the future ones that are being written in front of you, I told myself. Hopefully, the ones in front will not require any culinary skill on my part, just my steadfast reliance on My Love and his truly scrumptious and intriguing vittles. So I transferred this pot over to the “storage” box. That might mean that I didn’t let go of it completely — that’s what storage units are for — but I know at some point when I feel comfortable (or get tired of paying for a storage unit), I will, with a peaceful soul, surrender those material things that do not serve me in this present moment. It’s nice to hang on to things of sentimental value like my grandmother’s old rocking chair or her cast-iron, well seasoned cornbread-making skillet, but not an old pot that has physically seen better days and, in an incorporeal sense, seen worse days.
The transition from “my” things and “his” things to “our” things has been a surreal experience. I do feel a little bit more at home with every passing day. My Love has been sensationally hospitable. Moving into someone’s home (no matter how epic the love and respect are) and attempting to mesh furniture, dishes, bedding, closet space (grrr!) along with morning routines, bedtime routines, and rituals known only to you but now must be shared is a curious experience. I’ve lived alone for the last seven years, so there have been a lot of material things I’ve had to deem worthy of keeping, practical to store, or could be better used or appreciated by someone else. A culling of things both material and emotional every now and then is a life-building responsibility to yourself.
When the time comes for me to weed out my storage unit, I hope I do donate the pot (or throw it in the dumpster if it looks like its going to cause someone metal poisoning or some kind of non-stick material-induced cancer). My hope is by that time, I will have new and happy memories attached to the new possessions currently in my life. I can say for certain that it will not be another sauce pot. It is more likely that I will have jumped to the other side of the counter in the kitchen, and it will be some fork or knife or maybe even a plate!