Me, My Mother, and a Whole Lot of Coffee

When you have kids, they always seem to collect one thing that seems to take over all your living space to the point that you want to kill anyone who gives them another one. With my daughter, it was stuffed animals. Every time she got a new one I wanted to stuff it down the throat of the person who gave it to her.

In the vein of ‘things never change’ my own mother is still going through that with me, only now it’s my collection of coffee mugs.

My mother babysits for me all the time. She actually does more than that – she is there for me all of the time, for whatever I need and whenever I need it. I always manage to work jobs that have crazy hours; she pretty much takes my place at home when I’m working. That includes washing my dishes.

I don’t have a dishwasher – well, technically I suppose I do, but Mom hates when I call her that.

Her biggest bitch is about the amount of coffee cups I have. When my daughter is out for any extended period of time, it’s almost a certainty that all the ‘dishes’ in my sink will be coffee cups.

People tend to give me coffee mugs as gifts. That happens when people know you drink a lot of coffee.

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The same thing happens when people know you wear tiaras.

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Every time I get a new mug, she starts yelling about how much space they take up. With my ‘older’ perspective, it’s actually quite funny.

Just like old times.

The thing is, I can’t get rid of any of them. They all mean something to me and usually have a story attached.

This one offends my daughter. Even if I hated it (and I don’t), that’s reason enough to keep it.


This one was part of a set of four that my grandmother owned. My siblings and I each got one after she passed. Drinking from it is like having coffee with Grandma.

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I got a new one two weeks ago while on vacation at Old Orchard Beach, ME. The story behind it is a little longer because it started last year.

For some reason, I wake up very early when I’m on vacation. The last three years in OOB I’ve been getting up in time to catch the sunrise on the beach. The first year my best friends and our kids and I went to Maine together we stayed in a small unit of one house. Last year and this year we got a bigger unit; the same one for this year and last. I had a HUGE problem last year with the coffee cups in the cabinet: they were teeny tiny. I would pour a cup that I would finish drinking before I walked the 15 steps to the sand. Before the week was over, I was on a quest to find the perfect coffee mug for my beach sunrise mornings.

(And I mean “quest”. Everyone heard me complaining about the lack of a decent coffee cup. Mom was there a few days with us, and she heard it, too.)

My best friend Donna found THE mug three days before we went home. We each got the same mug, just a different color.

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The mug WAS perfect – until we got home. One pass thru Donna’s dishwasher and two passes through ‘my’ dishwasher and the logo washed off! We couldn’t believe it!

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These cups are from 1985 and 1988 (they are dated on the bottom), and they are perfect!

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When it was time to go on vacation this year, I was tempted to bring a coffee mug. I had overpacked again, and because of that I almost didn’t pack the mug. It was Mom who reminded me how … uptight I had been the previous year about the coffee mugs. I had actually forgotten until I got there and opened the cabinet and saw the cups that were there – and it all came back to me in a flash. I was grateful I did bring my own. (Thank you, Mom.)

Of course, Donna and I discussed how bummed we were about last year’s mugs. When Donna found this new one, I went out and bought one, too (a different color). The logo is in the ceramic; it won’t wash off!


Mom was unable to come up to Maine this year, so she did not know I got a new mug.

Because life is life I went back to work after we came home, and Mom was back at my house washing dishes. Of course, she noticed the new coffee mug. I was actually surprised that she didn’t start bitching. Well, she did, but then stopped herself when she realized that the logo wasn’t going to wash off. She actually sanctioned this one because of that! “You DO need your souvenir, and you had to replace the other one.” Wow!

This mug is now extra special to me; it matches one my best friend has, it’s a souvenir of a special place, and the logo won’t rub off. I’m also sure, one day when I’m forced to wash my own dishes after a week of working crazy hours and I notice the ratio of coffee cups to plates, I’m going to think of my mother.

AND because kids never change – even when they get older – the fact that my mother ‘allowed me to have it’ AFTER THE FACT makes me feel a little like I got away with something!