I know what you’re thinking: She’s going to tell us she loves coffee. Well, don’t we all. After all, coffee is one of the ultimate parenting tools. Oh no wait, she’s British, so she’s probably going to tell us she loves tea. I do indeed love tea. And coffee for that matter, as much as that makes me a traitor of sorts (“Off with her head!”)
But that’s not what I want to talk about. This post is about the actual hot drinks receptacle itself, that is to say, my love mug.
To explain, I have to take you back to Valentines Day 2009. On that day, I woke up to discover, with absolute certainty, that I was miscarrying my first pregnancy. A lot has happened in the four years since, but if I close my eyes I can remember with un-nerving clarity how I felt that day. It was an early miscarriage, we’d only known I was pregnant at all for a matter of days so primarily I was in shock. I’d barely begun to get my head around the fact I was pregnant, and then I wasn’t anymore.
That possibly should have made it easier and of course physically it was a million times easier than what some mamas must endure when their pregnancy progresses further before coming to a tragic end. But psychologically I was a wreck. Emotionally I was devastated. No stranger to being let down by others, I am well versed in dealing with disappointment, but to be let down by my own body? It was the ultimate betrayal.
There was very little Chris could say or do to make me feel better. There was very little anyone could say or do to make me feel better. Their platitudes “It obviously wasn’t meant to be”, “There was probably something wrong with the baby”, “There’ll be a next time” were like the cold-water I kept splashing on my face in between crying fits, trying to orient me to logic, to statistics, to bring me back to reality, but like the water, they failed miserably.
We had never made a big deal of Valentines Day. We celebrated our own anniversary, a date that was special to us and only us (and, alright, the probably millions of other couples who got together that day) but Valentines Day seemed like someone else’s celebration. A fortunate happenstance given the timing of the miscarriage, although despite our lukewarm feelings on the occasion, it did feel somewhat poignant to be spending the day in bed crying and bleeding.
But when Chris went to our local shop to pick up supplies (chocolate, paracetamol, more chocolate) he brought me back this mug. It has “Valentines Day” written all over it. Well, actually they’re little pink and red hearts, but I’m sure you see what I’m saying. I began using it immediately. We have a bit of a problem with mugs. Like so many addicts before us, we can always find some way to justify “Just one more” and consequently have not one, but two cupboards full of them. I have nicer mugs than this one, bigger mugs, posher and pricier mugs. But this is the single most beautiful and special mug I own.
The hardest thing about days like my 14th February 2009 is that awful, terrifying, hollowing feeling that nothing will ever be okay again. Well I’m here to tell you that it will. I’m not saying it’s alright. No matter what comes next, you will always have that experience, those memories. That terrible thing, whatever it was, will always have really happened, and happened to you. But there are very few instances in life when things are unsalvageable, where a situation, or a person, is broken beyond repair.
So when other people see me drinking from this mug, they might think “She loves coffee” or “She loves tea” or “That is one tacky Valentines mug” but when I see this mug I see Love. When I drink from it I know that with love, anything is possible.