The longest love relationship I’ve ever had.

It was 1995, and our ad agency had just wrapped up a photo shoot and commercial campaign to launch a new fun and hip pull-out entertainment section of our city’s newspaper. Three coffee cups had made the cut. The cups, known simply as “props”, made it into our stash in the agency kitchen. I was still drinking bad coffee then, but bad coffee was free and as it turns out, was also my gateway coffee into the good stuff. 

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I found that I would dig like a forager for one coffee cup in particular. While the other two were pretty, this one had something different. It changed me. Made me happy. Brightened me and lifted my spirits. Sometimes, I would simply pour water in it v. coffee because the mere sight of it and weight in my hands was enough to wake me up and encourage me to greet my day with arms wide open.

I began keeping it at my desk and personally washing it each morning at work to make sure that mine were the only lips that would kiss it each day.

I have studied this cup to discover how it was painted before it went in the kiln. Is that weird?

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The faint stains in it are all from me. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soup. 

It was while drinking from this cup that I made the decision to leave the agency and return to college as a non-traditional student. And the day I left, I lifted that blessed cup. Yep. Took it. Stole it. Saved it. It was my wingman, my rabbit’s foot, my Jiminy Cricket.

Over the years, this cup has lived by my side, in various kitchen cabinets from Oklahoma to Colorado. From leaving loves behind who taught me first and foremost the value of friendship in intimacy, to settling into a marriage with my soulmate. From a broken hearted time during which my oldest son lived with his dad 700 miles away, to the beauty and love in growing babies and giving birth to my youngest boys. From loving God, to hating God, to loving Him again. Through getting my Bachelor’s and Master’s and career changes and startup businesses and failures and a professional licensure and various certs, I have raised this cup in praise, honor, sadness, respect, bitterness, fear, and joy; each time toasting another change, another chapter, onward and upward.

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And I can’t hide it, but my heart seriously skips a beat each time a friend reaches into my cabinets to grab a cup when we’re sharing coffee. “Be careful!” I want to whisper, but instead I regulate my breathing and choose to hope that they seek this particular cup for its value and brightness and happiness – its pure and simple magic in being an extension of my heart not to hold too closely to myself, but to share.

It is scarred with a small chip, like so many things in life, yes? Physically, that chip will most likely start to crack a bit over time and start to spill its contents, but emotionally? It will forever hold the most precious content of my life. I’ve been emotionally attached to four material things in my lifetime: an oversized pair of boxers that I wore until they were threadbare (yes, they were guy’s underwear, but yes, it was the 80’s and I think I was either channeling Madonna or Bananarama while tucking them under overalls); a cut-off pair of Girbauds (again, throw back to the 80’s – I accidentally left them at a lake condo in AR after my friends’  weekend wedding sometime mid-2002 and mourned them for, well, I still do); a philodendron plant that I had kept going through cuttings since 1990 (I recently let it expire – I learned that it was time to let go); and this cup. While I loved those other things, this cup outshines them. This cup has been a part of my everyday as I’ve grown up. As I have become comfortable with me. As I become comfortable being me, with all of the shiny spots and chips and burgeoning cracks, the awesome parts and the kinks. 

Now…aren’t I a lucky girl to have married my barista all those years ago? ;) 

May your own cup forever be full,