The Coffee Cup


The giant gallon of milk dwarfs my tiny 10-year-old hands. A shaky splash of milk hits the hot coffee and I am memorized by the dance the two liquids do together. One teaspoon of sugar and a quick stir. I tiptoe across the sun-drenched wood floor of our kitchen and then carefully ascend the stairs to my parent’s bedroom. I deliver the coffee of cup to my mother’s nightstand and my twin sets a much darker brew to my father’s table. Hugs, kisses, and morning greetings are exchanged. Many of my Saturday mornings as a child started this way. 

As long as I can remember, the smell of coffee is what I first woke up to. It’s weaved in and out of most of my childhood memories. Thermoses filled up to send with my father to work and on fishing trips. One of my first “chores” was bringing up my parent’s first cup of coffee on the weekend once it had finished brewing. My mother stayed at home and if a friend stopped by in the morning she quickly would start a new pot to catch up over a steaming cup of goodness. There isn’t a day that I remember that didn’t start with coffee. 

Fast forward to my own moments of motherhood. The floor creaks under my feet as I sleepily shuffle to the kitchen. It is a morning routine I do every day. Dogs out, coffee on, diaper changed. A rhythm that is mine. These quiet moments before the bustle of the day starts. 

My hand reaches into the cupboard, I feel the cool ceramic of the coffee mug under my fingers. I instinctively reach for this mug just about every morning even with dozens of others to choose from. A swirl of creamer twists and tangles the steaming coffee. I stare at the bright colors of the cup as I stir my coffee slowly. It is a souvenir mug. Many childhood family trips are represented by this mug. I am always transported to vacations and good memories with my family as a child. Three letters stare back at me. It is a personalized mug but this name doesn’t belong to me. I keep this name in my heart but I never used it. Sam. My mother’s name. 

One of the few tangible items I have left of my mother is this coffee mug. I’ve cried over this mug. I’ve laughed over this mug. This coffee mug has transcended two seasons of motherhood. Hers and mine. It’s been one of the only threads that have woven our motherhood experience together since I lost her before I became a mother myself. 

Often times I think I would do anything to enjoy a cup of coffee together as we stand in my kitchen, watching my son play, her grandson that she never got to meet. I would daydream in those sleep-deprived newborn days of her stopping over and starting a pot of coffee. Sitting on the couch and starting our day together. I try not to let my mind drift to these places often because they are hard to return back from.

But for now at least… I have her coffee mug.