Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Cups Run Over

I'm not big on collecting things.  I can't say I've ever had an official collection of items that I treasure.  I tend to get overwhelmed quickly by clutter and anything of mass -- my reaction being to pitch stuff out....not to keep it.  So, I was amused this week to realize that I am the owner of a collection.  And, much to my chagrin, I kind of treasure it.  It's been a long time in the making and it wasn't intentional.  It just sort of happened (and no, it's not my numerous children....I know how those happened and they were all intentional...for the most part).

Here it is.  I collect mugs.  I have a cupboard full to overflowing with mugs!   Now, before you roll your eyes and get all disappointed that it's nothing more profound, bear with me.  These mugs represent more than just pottery in a cupboard.  They are gifts from friends and family.  Each one takes me to a special time in my life.  When I sit down and have a cup of coffee I am reminded of life's twists and turns.  I get to remember where I've been, how I got here, and who I got here with.  The collection is random, eclectic, and quaint.  It reminds me of how amazing and varied my relationships are.  I laugh at the variety within the collection -- each one as unique as the person I associate it with. 

This is Brian's cup.   It used to be mine.  My mom gave it to me when I graduated college and was struggling to carve out a career and a life of my own.  I can remember clearly being so broke that I only had $5 left to my name after I paid all my bills.  I had to get really creative with that 5 bucks!  This little mug sat on my desk for years.  It always reminded me not to give up hope.   I'm glad I didn't give up -- the fight has always been worth it.  I'm so grateful for my mom and family that always encouraged me to hold on tight to my dreams and hopes.  My dreams look different now, but I cling to the same Hope.

My friend, Kathy, gave this to me.  She worked with me right out of college and became my roommate.  We both struggled as new college graduates, working at the same miserable job.  She spent her spare $5 on me for a Christmas gift:  This mug.  I still use it frequently and remember her every time.  I don't know what happened to her.  When I married Marc we parted ways.  She moved out of town and we lost touch.  So, Kathy, if you're out there and reading this -- Thanks for the friendship and memories.....and mug! Hope you're doing well!

This is a mug I use frequently.  It was Marc's.  His sister Michele gave it to him for his 36th birthday.  It's a huge, heavy thing.  We acquired two more from the same artist over several years, but his one is my favorite.  It holds a LOT of coffee...something I need to keep going these days.

These two mugs were made by my friend, Elo.  She made them at a craft get-together with our friends.  I couldn't go.  Marc was sick.  She stepped in and made mine for me.  Mine has a picture of me riding my lawn mower.  Marc's shows our family hiking.  I love these mugs and I have them prominently displayed, but I refuse to use them.  They haven't been used.  Not once. 

This mug was also handmade by my friend, Mel.  Mel and I have been friends for over thirty years.  She has seen me through most of the stages -- awkward and otherwise -- of my life.  When I married Brian I became an instant grandmother -- much to everyone's amusement.  We laughed about me being called "Grandma."  Sigh.  Wasn't planning on that term of endearment at age 40.  Mel came up with the nickname "Meemaw" and made me a darling mug for me to celebrate my new status.   Unfortunately the trendy name did not stick.  Grandma it is.  But, I have this cool mug and it makes me chuckle every time I see it.  

This mug was handmade by Kami.  It was a Mother's Day gift and I love it.  She did a beautiful job and it means so much to me.  As a step-mom I was so touched that she would honor me with a gift.  Being acknowledged at that level....was...well....WOW!  

Kami also got me this sweet little mug at Starbucks.  I'm infamous for being thrifty and had been eying this mug for weeks.  I just couldn't justify spending the money.  Kami took note and kept tabs on the price. She managed to buy it for me on clearance and surprised me.  I just think it's cool.  I probably wouldn't have bought it on my own.  So, when I use it I feel totally spoiled and frivolous!

This hot little number was a gift from Adam and Ben at Christmas.  There are no words.  It makes me laugh...hard.   Haven't quite figured out how to drink from it yet.  I try to class it up by drinking tea in it -- Earl Grey nonetheless.  It takes up two spaces in the dishwasher.  But, I love it.   It's from two amazing men that I adore and they picked it out just for me.  It's impractical, it's pink, and it makes me smile.  These days that's enough!

This travel mug I picked up when I was in Indiana this fall.  My uncle passed away suddenly and I was able to attend his funeral and spend time with family.  During that week my sweet aunt and I ducked out one morning for a talk.  I have always had a special place for my aunt in my heart -- she has always understood me.    Watching her grieve her husband of 52 years was difficult.  Though we have been through the same loss, I felt totally inadequate to comfort her.  We drove around town just chatting and ended up at Dunkin' Donuts.  We don't have DD in our area anymore.  It was fun to stack my aunt's coupons (she is also infamously thrifty) and come away with free coffee, jelly filled donuts, and a mug.  I will always remember that time with my favorite aunt.  Despite the fact we were grieving we had a great visit, several laughs, and many donuts.  I won't ever forget that day or that time with her.  Special.

Well, there's a lot more mugs in my cupboard -- some old, some new.  Life's kind of like that, though.  Loved ones and memories accumulate over time and before you know it you've got a beautiful collection.  I am always humbled by how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life.  I give thanks to God every day for his abundant mercies and gifts.  My cup runs over....

With love and gratitude....