By Kate Lewis

September 4, 2023


I heard the snap before I saw it – my late grandmother’s worn rosary tugged apart by my preschooler’s tight grip. She’d only wanted to look, and I’d let her, and my sudden tears were a surprise. My first-grade son hovered nearby with solemn eyes as I set the rosary aside. “Can you fix it?”

“It’s too broken,” I wept, though I dashed the tears away as fast as they came. Things break often around toddlers – toys smashed upon the floor, cups thrown from the table, tempers frayed and mended over the course of a morning. It’s how you put them back together that matters, and so I drew my daughter close, both of us needing comfort.
Calmer, she and I gently put away my remaining mementos, and my son slipped from the room. When he returned, the rosary was cradled in his small hands, the same as it once had been in my grandmother’s, a symbol of her hope.

It’s how you put things back together that matters, the care you take for others’ hearts and your own. My son had used scotch tape, the sticky plastic folded carefully around the snapped cord of linked beads, rendering the rosary usable once more. Some broken things aren’t ruined forever. Some broken things can be made whole.


Kate Lewis lives along the tidewaters of Coastal Virginia with her family. Her essays appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Romper, Literary Mama and more, and she also writes The Village on Substack. Find her online @katehasthoughts.


Image courtesy of the author

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