I'm dressed and ready to walk out the door, already late, and my phone rings. Punch cups are needed at my girl's apartment warming party.
I put her on hold and answer another call. Punch cups, again.
Juggling the phone I reach into the buffet to pull out my mama's glass cups - smooth and fluted, etched and cut. The bottom falls as I drop my phone and stretch arms that fail to catch. My eyes fill as I look at the floor. All her cups. What took her forty years to collect I destroy in seconds of hurried frustration.
They lay shattered on the floor. Dozens. I quickly scoop up the ones that survived and yell a warning to everyone as I race out of the house. Tears are threatening. They won't be hard to fall if I give in. This day, which has been twenty-one years in the making, isn't surprising me with its pain.
In moments a friend from childhood wraps her arms around me as she says, They're just things. Just things.
I look at her and am reminded of her daddy, lost to her on this earth just months ago. Found in heaven. She waits to see him again.
As I pull into this spot in front of my girl's new home I reach for the few strong ones and wonder how I will tell my mama. Mama who entrusted me to keep her things safe. Years of hostessing wedding and baby showers for friends who returned the favor.
I hug and speak the words. I feel five. I hurt today.
Rie, they're just cups. It's easier to use plastic now anyways. She squeezes back.
Does she remember? Does she understand?
I travel back and sit in the quiet of a hospital room and if I close my eyes I can imagine the blood flowing from my mama's brain as it drains. Only later would we who love her realize how much more than just blood was lost those days.
I return and watch my girls smile in their joy, grin in their pride. I know a secret. Fear grips them both often as this new adventure struggle envelopes each new day.
Weeks have passed since that difficult day.
One broken cup sits on a shelf. A piece I couldn't throw away. A reminder of Mama lost and of one found.
A reminder of days beautiful and difficult. Significance. Me struggling to let go and holding on to more than just memories, more than just a past. More than my children and my Mama.
Does she understand? More than me. But I'm learning.