The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

A Single Red Plate

Jun 12 2009 020_600

After the birth of my first daughter, my mom gave me a single red plate. A red plate in it’s own designated box. I open it and the plate said, “You are Special Today”. My mom was excited to share something like this with me in hopes that I would share it with my own daughter. Although I graciously received it she knew by my lack luster reaction that I didn’t ‘get it’…yet. I recall her saying something like , “Well, even if you don’t like it now, you might, when the baby gets older.” OK, I gave her that. So, of course, I saved it.

Years later, I came across it quite accidentally and coincidentally a few days before her 4th birthday. I pulled it out, washed it up and decided to present her homemade birthday cupcake on the bright and shiny red “special” plate. To my surprise she was delighted with the fanfare, her eyes wide with excitement, “What’s THIS plate Mom?” As I read her the words and told her the story, as my mom told me, I realized a tradition was being born. As quickly as I had dismissed the plate years earlier, I resolved to keep it handy, ready to use at any and every special occasion. And I have.  And now both my girls have come to not only look forward to it for their own special days (for everything from pancakes to pizza to birthday cake) but have also insisted that my husband and I use it on ours.

Since I have become a mother, I have learned to deeply appreciate all things that make my kids feel special. Anything I can do for them to remind them they are loved and valued is worthy of my effort and energy. So who knew one red plate could drive that message home? I sure didn’t. But, I’m glad I listened to my own mother and gave her idea a shot. It has made our family’s celebrations that much more festive and momentous.  

To get your own red plate, you can order one directly from the Waechtersbachusa site.  Or you can always make your own “special” plate. Consider taking a trip to a ‘paint your own ceramics’ store and whip one up yourself. Or better yet, have your child make one. I promise, you’ll be thrilled at the reaction you’ll get and I’ll bet you children will love it as much as mine do.

What special traditions have you come to treasure?

About TraceyClark

Tracey is a photographer, writer, mom and an all-around idea girl. She loves natural light, low-tide and her Lensbaby Super-Wide. You can find her on her personal blog or over at Shutter Sisters, where is not only the founder but a regular contributor.

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  • Nancy

    I have 2 of these plates. I purchased them directly from the factory in Germany. My husband\’s Nat\’l. Guard unit had been activated and shipped to Germany immediately following 9/11. 5 months later, the girls and I packed our bags for a visit. Husband took us on a tour of this little business and I thought those plates would make wonderful souveniors as well as heirlooms to pass on to the girls at some point so I bought 2. They have a home in my cabinet with our other plates and are used regularly for special occasions. The girls love them and so do I.

  • Nancy

    Oh.. we had this plate when I grew up and my mom did the same thing. I love it. I love to whip it out for any random occasion. But, it has to be something that my girls did that made them\"special.\". It could be learning how to dive, being kind to others, making her bed by herself. You don\’t know you are receiving it until dinner and voila… it makes a big entrance. I haven\’t brought it out for a while.Thanks for the reminder…. LOVE THIS BLOG… LOVE IT!

  • Laura

    Adorable! We have a Happy Birthday mug. The birthday boy/girl gets the mug filled with hot cocoa or for adults, our beverage of choice. Wonderful, small traditions like this are such a great thing to look forward to.

  • Linda @ My Trendy Tykes

    What a great tradition!

  • Merrilee

    My mom had a special plate when I was growing up, so years before I even got pregnant with my first child my friend and I spent an afternoon at a paint your own ceramics place, where I lovingly created our own “It’s Your Special Day” plate. It was so much fun to do, and to tell my friend the plate’s story. My son is now 16 months old, and his first birthday cake was on that plate :) I look forward to using it!

  • dana

    I have the same plate, only it\’s navy blue! (From Longaberger maybe, many years ago.)

    I have 5 children and every birthday the birthday person uses it for dinner–my oldest is 22 now and my youngest is 10 (she\’ll be using it Saturday when she turns 11!!).

    Certainly not babies anymore, our plate celebrates 7 birthdays every year. Over the years, it\’s seen it\’s share of pizza, tacos and macaroni and cheese. But as the children have all grown, birthday dinners now fetaure The Special Plate adorned with the likes of filet mignon, Louisiana-style barbeque shrimp, homemade garden salads, risoto or garlic mashed red potatoes and homemade cream of crab soup. My children\’s palates have grown quite a bit since the Special Plate was introduced into our family.

    The best part is that with a large family, our birthdays have never been extravagant gift-giving events. The children always went shopping with their Dad and were allowed to spend $20 (which grew to $25 and topped out a couple years ago at $40). For an \"adult\" child that\’s not much money in today\’s marketplace. The GIFT of the day is always their dinner, gathering around the table together with their siblings, my husband and myself, and feasting on all the favorite foods they enjoy to share with their family. It\’s a ton of work for me, but I love to cook and it\’s truly a gift from the heart. :)

    Birthday dinners are never missed and the plate never sits longer than a couple months without being used. I recommend starting your own family tradition and watch it grow and remain constant through your childrens\’ lives.

  • Thea

    Ditto! We have our own red plate …not fancy like yours…just red ( more like cranberry). This comes out when the big brother get an “A” on a hard test, Dad’s favorite sports team wins, or little sis needs some encouragement.

    I started Junk Food Night when my oldest was about 8!! … I know not the best example for Momma to set, but such a treat ( maybe more for me than the kids). We find a kid-friendly movie on TV or watch one we already own…eat popcorn with M& M’s mixed in,drink soda, eat chips…and snuggle on the couch, just about EVERY Friday night!!!

    I love to hear the kids say to me on the way home from school every Friday…”Yea! It’s Junk Food Night!” Music to my ears!! LOL!

  • Skooks

    I putting this on the list for things to get the kids. Mine are quite young and I think my oldest would really get into this starting about now.

    Like a previous commenter said, we always had our favorite dinner made for us on our birthday . . . something I’ll continue with my own kids. :)

  • Emily

    We have a red plate too! It was given to us as a wedding present along with the poem that talks about the importance of the red plate. We use it on b-days, first days of school, when the kids stopped wearing diapers, any big event in their lives.

  • Tammy

    Oh, I love this idea. It is a very sweet story & made me kind of tear up. My mom always made us feel special on our birthday by making our favorite meal. It was our day. Now that I am married, I always make my husband his favorite meal… Tammy’s famous Chicken Alfredo Pizza. YUMMY! Another tradition I started a few years ago is sending my mom Starbuck’s coffee on Thanksgiving & Christmas. Even though it is her favorite, she will not spend the money on herself & enjoys getting a package of coffee beans to savor during the holiday season. I love traditions as they make things much more special to me.