My daughter set the mug on the counter and reached for the kettle. The mug is wide and sturdy and glazed a drippy brownish-green, the kind of cup that makes you want to hold your coffee in two hands.
“Sorry, Sweetie, I’m using that,” I said, before she could pour the water for her tea.
In truth, I was on my way out for an early meeting. I planned to take my coffee in a travel mug with a lid, not the hippie/handmade one from the Purple Fiddle cafe.
There is very little a mother keeps for herself. The mug is a souvenir from a week in West Virginia’s Caanan Valley with dear family friends. I’ve never said so outright, but I don’t share it.
If I were a child, it would be the action figure I keep by my bedside, my favorite strawberry lipgloss worn to a nub, the best pencil for math homework.
That night at the Purple Fiddle, we ate ice cream and drank beer while our children played board games and snapped photos outside on the sidewalk. A blues duo sang for the regulars and visitors to this tiny mountain town. Or maybe the kids played cards and the music was bluegrass. I can’t be sure, but the details are beside the point.
My friend Amy has a shirt from the same evening. We talk hands-free on the way to pick up our children from school – Amy in New Jersey and me in Michigan. We have until 3:30, when we scramble to wrap up our conversation and emerge from our vans, moms on active duty.
Sometimes I’m careless and put the mug in the dishwasher. One day it might chip. Someday I might even share it.
But not yet.