Once upon a time…
I was visiting my grandparents in New York City. I spent quite a bit of time there, and it was with my grandparents that I was introduced to the joys of theater, music and art. When I was six, I saw Yule Brenner in The King and I. With them, I saw a Chorus Line for the first time, went to the opera, and would circle up the ramp at the Guggenheim and eat lunch at the original MOMA.
One day, when I was visiting, I accidentally broke a large, brand new bottle of my grandmother’s perfume. I remember that distinctive and horrible sinking and miserable sensation of awfulness. It seemed, to a child, that impending and irreversible doom must follow a transgression so great and careless, and of such an expensive and precious item. And then, I remember how my grandmother shrugged it off as absolutely no big deal.
She was glad I hadn’t hurt myself. That was the last it was ever mentioned.
That memory is one of the more resonant of my childhood and I recently recalled it again when my daughter accidentally pulled the belt and buttons off my raincoat.
At every accident, there is an occasion to practice my grandmother’s gift of nonchalant forgiveness. It is powerful, and I am grateful be able to pass it on.