My Family

The Chipped Cup

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.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

13 replies on “The Chipped Cup”

Very beautiful post, Sister Buxton. My mother-in-law who passed away last year had a nice cabinet with a little collection of tea cups. We just inherited some of them, and they are sitting on my dining room table right now along with her beautfiul demi-tasse set that she received as a wedding gift. They bring back such memories. I love old tea cups, old china and the old paths. Happy Belated Mother’s Day.



Hi Shirley,

Being awhile since I was last here. Can I say…the new look is so lovely and alive. I love it. Secondly, I loved your article on your daughter Rebecca. I love what you said…that she understands there is value in things old and broken and…perhaps cast aside. What a great lesson for all of us. And yes…that she has brought her mother joy in spite of her many challenges. Deeply stirred by this! Thank you and happy belated Mother’s day…everyday!



Okay…Shirley and Mel…you’ve got me tearing up.
What a precious post, Sis. Buxton!
What a precious daughter. ๐Ÿ™‚


Sis. Buxton, I love your “story”! I have a lesson I speak on “Teacups and Saucers”, and with your permission I would love to add this story to my notes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad I stopped by your blog today. Your writing is so “heartfelt” and I love it! Blessings to you this week.


Heartwhispers, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. It’s obvious you understand Mother’s love–whether for a son or a daughter.

Spent some time at your site a few minutes ago, and really enjoyed it–especially your remodeling news and the ladies retreat pictures. I never get my fill of ladies retreats.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Beautiful emotional words…portraying a mother and daughter bond. I have three wonderful sons who gave me my daughters and granddaughter… but there is something special between a mother and daughter. You have expressed it so vividly. But you have expressed REAL MOTHER’s LOVE when you were expressing your emotions for your daughter … a mother’s tears of love! Thank you… please write more often!


I’m tired crying, MELINA. Stop it! But I really do thank you for reminding me of the cup and flowers I sent on your wedding day. Although I have no idea of the words I wrote that day, I’m sure I was sincere and meant what I said. And today, May 14th, 2010, I sincerely say I love you and appreciate you. You are a wonderful wife to my son.

DEAN, yes daughters are wonderful. Thanks for missing me. In Crestline, we have no internet at our home. Rats!


Beautiful post! Thank You. I have missed your “babbling and wanderings”as you call them. Aren’t daughters just wonderful???


Now my eye’s are filled with tears, you have a precious daughter who loves you dearly. How fortunate you are to have a daughter that fill’s you with joy and brings out all your emotions, you are blessed. I have a beautiful tea cup from you that when Michael and I got married you sent me flowers in . It was a very special day and the words you wrote were very touching, the saucer to the cup has been gone for along time but I still have the cup and every time I see it I think of you and that special day and your words. Wow how tea cups bring us more then Tea ๐Ÿ™‚


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