I woke up this morning thinking, for some reason, about my mom’s hands on a coffee cup.
When I was little, Mom used to make a pot of coffee every morning. (She only drank about half of it, because she’d constantly fix a mug, set it down, get distracted, and forget where she’d left it. Rather than search for a cup that was probably gone cold anyway, she’d just fix a fresh mug. Then toward the end of the day, maybe before Dad got home from work or when she was cleaning up the dinner dishes, she would send Jason and me to round up all the mugs we could find.)
She took her coffee with milk but no sugar, and I remember loving the smell but hating the bitter taste of the sips I’d beg for.
One of my earliest memories – or maybe it’s just an image I saw so frequently, it feels like an old/early memory? – is of Mom’s hands, circled around a mug emblazoned with a kitschy print of big, quilted, “calico fabric” letters spelling MOM. She would warm her hands on the cup until her palms were red. If I was close by, she placed her hands on both my cheeks, stroke my upturned face. The heat would give me goosebumps; send shivers down my spine. I can still feel her skin, when I close my eyes and go back to this memory.
So it’s five o’clock in the morning, and I’ve made a mug of coffee (though I take lots of sugar in mine, thanks). I’m sitting in dim light with two of my babies beside me, and I’m crying, and I’m warming my hands on a mug.