I have certain coffee cups I use on certain days.
I have one given to me by a friend with two little girls on it and a rainbow. It reminds me of Ann Catherine, Lily Baker and Melissa. I use it on days when I need to feel that love.
I have an Alabama coffee cup that I may or may not use the mornings the Crimson Tide is playing. (Cut me some slack. I married a hockey player. By virtue of that, I may be a wee bit superstitious.) I am fully aware the coffee cup has no bearing on the outcome of the game, but it makes me feel better. :)
I have big, oversized ones that I use on the mornings when I'm working from home and need an extra shot of caffeine.
But the one I reached for today is probably the most special one of all. It belonged to my grandmother, Mama Long, who passed away when I was a senior in high school.
I was so close to her. Looking back now, the reason is obvious. I'm a lot like her. I think she saw that when I was younger, too.
I loved going to her house. I looked the blue jug of ice cold water she left in her refrigerator. My cousins and I would devour it after playing in her back yard.
I loved watching her sit in her chair and crochet. The stocking we hang on the mantle for Melissa is one she made me as a child. Our tree skirt was also made by her loving hands.
I loved playing board games with her, especially Aggravation. We played it every time I visited. I love that she always carried dice and marbles in an old Bufferin bottle in her purse. She was always ready to play.
I loved looking at her photo albums as a child, and even as a teenager. I would sit in her floor and look at them for hours on end. When she died, my aunts gave them to me and I will cherish them for the rest of my life.
A few years ago, we were at Thanksgiving at my Aunt Linda's house. She had a box of small things - knick knacks and trinkets - that belonged to my grandmother and asked us all if we wanted to go through them. I immediately saw this coffee cup and knew that I wanted it.
My grandmother collected coffee cups. It's what we always brought her back from vacation. She proudly displayed them on her kitchen wall.
If anything ever reminded me of my grandmother, it was this coffee cup.
I cherish it. Whenever I empty the dishwasher, I carefully place it back in the cupboard so as not to drop it. It's truly irreplaceable.
I reached for it today on this Thanksgiving Day. Because if there is one thing I have learned in my 30-plus years it's this: it's all about family.
Families aren't perfect. All families have their ups and downs. There are heartbreaks, there are disagreements, there are disappointments.
But there are also those in your family that you love with all your heart. Unconditionally, openly and without apology.
On this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for those that God placed in my life without my choosing. Some are in Heaven, and I have so much comfort knowing Melissa is there surrounded by the love of my grandparents who I loved dearly.
I'm also thankful for those who are here. Some I will see today, and some I won't. I am also overjoyed that family means as much to my girls as it does to me.
I hope you have time with your family this Thanksgiving. As I enjoy my coffee this morning, I'm counting my blessings. And I am overwhelmed by God's goodness.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!