The Porcelain Guardian
Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College
The Porcelain Guardian
Each morning when I make my bed I am never finished until my porcelain cat is lying on top of the comforter. It was a gift from my grandmother on my last birthday, but it has been in my life for all of my memory. It is a white, glazed, life-size cat with kind blue eyes and delicate eyelashes. It has always been beautiful to me. Even though the years have caused the porcelain to gently crack in a few places, I still see it in its original form.
This cat sat on my grandparents' bed for all of my life. It was not expensive, but it was consistently there. My grandparents lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, three hours away from my childhood home. So when holidays came, we would always stay with them. Each morning that we stayed with them, I would wake up and go into my grandparents' room to try to wake them. But they were always up first! The bed would be made and on top of the duvet would be the cat, smiling at me as if to say, "And better luck tomorrow." It seemed that he and I had an unspoken friendship.
Then as I grew up, I stopped trying to sneak into my grandparents' room to wake them. I started to forget about the porcelain cat that was always perched on the end of their bed. Right before high school, my family moved to the Twin Cities, and we no longer needed to stay at my grandparents' home. Soon I no longer had any reason to enter into my grandparents' bedroom at all.
Several years passed by, when one day before my wedding, my grandmother asked me what it is that I would like to have from them when they pass away. I was floored at the question! I did not want to think about them not being around, nor did I want to stake claim to any of their possessions. So I told her. That is when she said that she wanted me to have her wedding china. I was touched and honored, but with the mention of the word china, my mind drifted back to the memory of the porcelain cat, which always held guard at the foot of the bed. I turned to my grandmother and asked her about it. She informed me that he was right there, just as he always had been. Then she went on to tell me about how as a child, she would catch me talking and petting it as if it were real. She then told me that each night she placed it on the dresser and it reminded her of me, and that was the last we spoke of it.
On my last birthday, I went back to Minnesota to see my family. During my visit, my grandmother placed a delicately wrapped gift in my hands. As I gingerly opened the wrapping, I found that inside was the porcelain cat, looking just as I had remembered it. I brought it home with me, and now it lives each day at the foot of my bed, watching over me and my husband, just as it watched over my grandparents for the past sixty years. It may not be worth much, but each morning and evening, I am reminded about the history of my family and of the innocence of my childhood. It is my most important possession because it holds all the secrets, heritage, and memories and will continue to hold them as I pass it down to the family that I someday will have.