While she was still there, I drank coffee from the cup, and after she and Nathaniel left for their home, I set the cup and its fine saucer on the sill beside my kitchen window where I have a splendid view of trees and birds and the flowers of next-door-neighbor-Bill which change by the season.
The cup was hidden in a gift bag when Rebecca brought it up to our place after church on Sunday–Mothers Day Sunday. After the excellent meal for which Nathaniel expertly grilled chicken and the rest of us added things to round out the feast, Rebecca handed me the bag. As I was drawing out the contents I recognized I was grasping the edge of a saucer, and knowingly (and slightly sarcastically) said, “I can tell this is something I really need,” for it is well-known among my family that I have a penchant for beautiful dishes, and possess far more than I need. Anyway, here it was; a Mothers Day gift from my only daughter, Rebecca. It is beautiful. The blue is an amazing shade and the floral images appear to be hand-painted and they definitely are gold trimmed. Made in occupied Japan, it is an old cup and saucer set.
“It has a chip, Mom,” Rebecca anxiously said, “but it’s on the other side from where you will sip.” Within my hand, I turned the elegant cup and tilted it so that I could see the area she indicated…and saw that she was right. The cup is flawed. Damaged. A chip mars its edge.
Rebecca had brought brownies, and when I prepared the coffee cups, I poured strong black coffee into my new cup. The golden handle fits me perfectly, (“Look Mom,” Rebecca had said earlier. “The cup is so old the paint has worn from its handle.” ) and sure enough the chip was on the other side when I lifted the cup to my mouth.
Heavy fog was rolling in, threatening to make the trip down the mountain treacherous, so rather early Rebecca and Nathaniel gathered their things, we said our good-byes and they were gone.
On Monday morning, as I stood at my sink, my eyes fell on the beautiful blue cup…and its chip. I began crying. I cried then (as I do now) for love, and neediness, and for my beautiful daughter, and thoughts of her difficulties in life, and for her strength, and for her inner beauty, and her outer beauty, and her loyalty, and her fine son, Nathaniel, and her health challenges, and her financial challenges, and her extreme and sincere love of God and of the church, of her love for her mom and dad and for her brothers, and for those less fortunate than she…
My heart hurts, but my tears are of joy. Joy that God blessed me with such a daughter as Rebecca. Joy that on Mothers Day, 2010, Rebecca deigned to give me a chipped cup, knowing I would love it and would appreciate it. Joy that Rebecca understands there is value in things old and broken and marred and, perhaps, cast aside.
I’m in Lake Havasu now. I left the cup in Crestline…for fear that in travel it would become shattered.