Starbucks packaging describes this little demitasse cup as an ornament, but it is food- and dishwasher- safe in addition to being tiny and adorable.
Part of the You Are Here collection, the box is dated 2016. It was a gift from my mom a few years ago, from one of her last Christmases.
Mom died in July 2019.
Being something of a sentimentalist, a pack rat, and terrible at imposing order on objects in general, I’d stuck the Starbucks ornament in the back of a kitchen cupboard that includes coffee stuff I use only for parties.
Unlike my mother, I never developed a proper holiday stashing system, nor do I tend to decorate seasonally. Unless we consider the accumulation of Amazon shipping boxes on the landing before a gift-giving holiday a form of décor?
For my autumnal birthday this year, my dear husband finally gave in to enabling my caffeine addiction and bought me an espresso machine of my very own. Due to the pandemic, I hadn’t enjoyed my favorite beverage since March 12.
That’s more than six months without tasting espresso!
A week or two later, I happened upon my You Are Here Oregon demitasse while putting away my thermal cooker. Since then, I’ve enjoyed my daily espresso or two—okay, yes, now that the machine is in my home, I’m drinking three single shots per day!—from Mom’s gift.
A year and a third since her death, that only brings me to tears once or twice a week.
Mom loved Starbucks, though my own espresso preferences are a bit more locally roasted and single origin.
Mom knew how much I miss the state of my birth, and the part of the United States that I still, deep down, consider Home.
Mom would’ve noticed this cup boasts lots of my favorite color.
Of course, to Mom, it was an ornament. To me, it’s a cup. We saw a lot of things differently, but, luckily, mostly we saw eye to eye on the things that really matter.
I can’t bring myself to recycle the little box where Mom hastily scratched through the price tag. She gave so many gifts, just wrapping them was a herculean task. She had to work fast to get it all done. Mom was a perky little dynamo. A half-obscured price tag feels like another spider silk thread from the ghost of her hand to mine when I hold it.
The collection is called You Are Here, but, for me, it’s a Wish You Were Here cup.