A china cup toast to an ordinary Monday

This morning we’re sipping tea from a china cup because we’re celebrating life and the woman who gave it to us.

More than a decade ago, my grandma packed up her everyday china and sent it back to Wisconsin with me. A sense of practicality and control, her two main attributes, led her to dole out her worldly possessions to her 11 grandchildren while she was still around to supervise the distribution.

Because she’d packed it herself in tight bundles of newspaper and packing tape, the china made the 12-hour drive home from Pennsylvania in better shape than any of the other wilting occupants of our minivan.

Fourteen carat memories plated each piece and,  with well-intentioned though misplaced caution, I tucked them away, still wrapped, for many years.

Each bowl reminded me of Grandma’s meaty vegetable soup, ladled generously and served with halubkis and fresh bread. Each cup spoke of Grandma’s favorite pastime — tea and gossip — and the many hours we spent sitting at her kitchen table delicately sipping the first and naughtily sharing the second.

Eventually, my Aunt Martha, grandma’s only daughter, set me straight. She told me Grandma gave me the china so I would use it. She said I shouldn’t be afraid to take it out and that it wouldn’t really matter if something broke.

So I began serving extra special meals on Grandma’s china (hand washed and gently placed in a protected cabinet afterward.)

I pulled the cups out today because life is so brutally finite that you can’t waste a single moment and sometimes you need to raise a precious china cup to toast an ordinary Monday.


A cup of tea tastes extra special in Grandma's china cup (and you can scoop up those air bubbles on your teaspoon for extra good luck.)
A cup of tea tastes extra special in Grandma’s china cup (and you can scoop up those air bubbles on your teaspoon for extra good luck.) 
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Molly and I toasted life with a sweet cup of tea.
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As much as I treasure her china, I value Grandma’s hand written letters even more. I especially love that the date on the top right corner is simply “Monday.”
Grandma Jay and Molly
Here’s a shot of my Grandma holding Molly in her doorway.

5 thoughts on “A china cup toast to an ordinary Monday

  1. I Love reading great times with Grandma! Reminds me of mine and how she did things when I was younger. It is true to use what Grams gave ya buuuuuttttt I find myself the same way. I don’t want to use them afraid I will break them. Someday I will pass the memories I have and traditions to my kids (I have started some already). Great post!

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