Tea Cups: An Essay

My Mother’s Teacups


My mom always drank her coffee out of a teacup. It made her feel special.


It drove me nuts. Coffee mugs were for coffee, teacups for tea. I could not see drinking a robust coffee out of a dainty little cup, placed on a dainty little saucer. Besides, the coffee would leave a brownish stain on the lovely white china, making it look icky.


One time, we went camping ala Shelton (Mom’s version of roughing it was a motor home). Mom’s teacup for her coffee got broken. So I went down to the gift shop and started looking for teacups. As much as I hated that she did it, she was my mom and I wanted her happy. Besides, she wouldn’t drink any coffee and Dad and I were both about to lose it right along with her.


The gift shop had nice, dainty little teacups. Doll size, but they had them. We would have to give her 50 cups in order to make her human again.  Coffee mugs, on the other hand, they had in every shape, size, and color. They had cute sayings on them, pictures, the name of the campground we were at… The variety was mind boggling.


Then I saw it. A coffee mug. But not just any coffee mug. This one was shaped like a teacup, only larger and made of a sturdier material. It was a neat little mauve color that would match the interior of the motor home. It had a white circle in the middle, with a rose painted in the middle of the circle. The only thing it was missing was a saucer.


She was gonna love it. She was gonna drink her coffee and become human again. Heck, even Dad would love the cup.


So I bought the cup, and a little gift bag. The sales lady threw in some tissue, and we wrapped it at the counter. I went back to the RV, swinging the bag. I was going to make her happy. She would no longer be caffeine deprived.


Mom said she loved the cup. She filled it with coffee right away. Dad pulled me aside and paid me back for it, and slipped me a 10 to boot. I had done good.


Or had I?


A couple of weeks later, we were out on the road again. Mom was drinking her coffee from a dainty little teacup with a dainty little saucer.


“Where’s the cup I bought you?” I asked, trying to be nonchalant.


“Oh, it’s in the glove compartment,” she told me with a smile. “I do love that cup.”


Me being me, I had to look in the glove compartment. And there was the cup. No coffee stains for this cup, oh no. It would have too many ink stains in it from the pens she had plopped into it.


Now, is there a moral to this story? Not really. But I will tell you that ever since she left us, there have been two cups on my desk. One is a neat little mauve color and has some pens and pencils in it. The other is a nice, dainty little teacup that has pens, pencils, staple remover… You get the idea.


But when I look at the cups, I remember that sometimes it isn’t the big things that make us special. It’s the little things.


Like drinking coffee from teacups.




One thought on “Tea Cups: An Essay

  1. Pooh,
    You moved me to tears…again. You’re right, it is the little things that make us special!
    Still checking in with you,

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