I had tea with my grandkids this morning. Yesterday morning, I had tea with a couple of Siamese cats. The morning before that, my tea went along with a Smith family 100-mile walk. (It took three cups.)
Even though the grandchildren live some 500 miles away, they can be here for breakfast any time, thanks to this year's Mother's Day gift. It's a cup that has all their names on it under little cartoon pictures, with the heading "My Grandma Rocks." The geologist who shares my breakfast table initially read it as "My Grandma's Rocks." This was a perfectly natural mistake; in his world, everybody's grandma would have her own collection of rocks as a matter of course.
The Siamese cats, blue eyes wide open with a curiosity that matches the question-mark curves of their tails, sit on one side of a cup that was a Christmas gift from my daughter. The paw prints on the other side suggest that their sophisticated poise might give way to mischief at any moment.
The 100-mile walk cup commemorates a family challenge a few years ago to walk every day until we had each accumulated that many miles. Those of us who made the full distance or more have the cups to prove it. A guest who used that cup one day was very impressed that we had walked so far. It took me a few minutes to realize he assumed we did it all at once. I would have explained, but correcting a guest who was just starting on his first cup of coffee hardly seemed polite.
Every now and then, I think I would like to have a matched set of attractive cups instead of the eclectic collection of mugs in our cupboard. ("Eclectic" sounds so much better than "stuff that doesn't match.")
But then which cups would I get rid of? Certainly not the grandchildren. Not the cats. Not the 100-mile award. Not the cup reading, "Thank you for loving me just the way I am" that my son gave me when he was 12. Not the cartoon-decorated cup my late husband used to use in his office.
They aren't elegant. They don't match. But each one means something special to me. They are reminders of the family members they came from, small touchstones that brighten my mornings. Tea just seems to taste better out of a cup that warms the heart as well as the stomach.