Many years ago, I read a Stone Soup comic in the newspaper where one sister was teasing her younger sibling for doing a connect-the-dots picture. The mom was in the background and overheard the girls’ conversation. The younger sister was saying that life is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but with this connect-the-dots, she knew she was getting a dinosaur at the end – no surprises. Then you see the mom with a thoughtful expression, and in the next frame, the mom is doing a couple of connect-the-dots pictures with a satisfied and relaxed expression on her face. I’m going from memory, so I might be a little off, but it left an impression.
That’s how I feel about pottery. I can’t control the fact that my son was growing with an incurable genetic bone disease, but I can make a cylindrical cup with grooves or straight edges, or I can make a bulbous, round pot, or I can smash everything. To a degree, I’m in control. It’s one of the only things that has helped me feel like I can get a grip in the past month.
I was signed up for a fall pottery course and had taken my first class the week before our first ultrasound (the one where we didn’t get good news). I dropped out of the class, but thankfully, I have my own pottery wheel, so I can finish the pieces that I started.
One of the pieces I made in class without knowing – a simple little pot with a lid – will be Henry’s urn. I made it while I still had him with me, so finishing it up at home and carving in his name was a surreal experience.
Pottery is my escape when I can’t handle whatever is going on at home. My wheel is in the basement, which isn’t a high-traffic area, so I am left in peace, and the whir and spin of the wheel helps me focus on the lump of clay waiting to be transformed. It’s a hobby I’m glad I kept up with.