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Cups & Saucers, Grandmothers & Mother’s Day

Recently when I was organizing a few dishes in my china cabinet (by the way, I own no genuine china), I ran across a few old cup and saucer sets that first belonged to my grandmother and then my mother. Seeing them made me a bit nostalgic as I paused and remembered…

Of course I had two grandmothers. My dad’s mother is not a face I remember well, as she died when I was very young. I may not remember her face very well, or even much about her at all, but I do remember her hair. I caught her brushing it once. Even at my young age, seeing it undone and falling loose from its usual pinned up bun style I was awestruck, embarrassed and maybe even a bit afraid thinking that I was going to get into trouble for disturbing such a private ritual. I remember how she just smiled and kept on brushing it as if she hadn’t noticed me staring.

My other grandmother I do remember well and one thing I remember most about her is all the dishes she had, including sets of lovely hand painted cups and saucers used for special coffee times.

My grandmother was the first to introduce me to the pleasure of drinking a good cup of coffee. Some of my fondest memories are of us sitting around her kitchen table sipping coffee. Of course, usually there would be cookies or pie as well. At her house there was always morning coffee time, afternoon coffee time and sometimes evening coffee time as well. These were rituals everyone who came to her house followed.

There are many things I remember about my grandmother, but what I remember most is the gift of unconditional love she always offered her grandchildren. She never spoke ill of any of us, even though we were of course far from perfect. The thing is, she wouldn’t allow anyone else to either, not while in her presence anyway. She would immediately come to our defense if someone said anything bad about any of us. We could always count on her unwavering support and I think this made us all work harder at not disappointing her. We wanted to be as good as she thought we were, even though of course, we all knew we were not.

Sometimes I wonder how my grandmother would have felt had she known that all three of her daughters would someday face breast cancer, and then a granddaughter would as well. Not “defending” us or being able to keep us from harm would have been really hard for her. Had she been around, her support through cancer would have been unwavering as well.

On every day, but especially as Mother’s Day approaches, I remember my mother of course, but I also think about how fortunate I was to grow up with a grandmother like that. I know cancer robs many families of this very thing, the unconditional love of a grandmother. I’m grateful my children knew their grandmother and felt that special kind of love. I’m grateful they have another grandmother around and can feel it still.

Here’s wishing a happy Mother’s Day to all women who love and nurture children.

And you don’t have to be, or ever have been, a mother to do that.

Do you have a memory about a grandmother or another important woman in your life to share?

What are your Mother’s Day plans?

I think I’m actually going to start using this lovely set!


The YMCA Livestrong Program for Cancer Survivors
Nancy Brinker Made Me Do It!

Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Sunday 12th of May 2013

[...] Nancy is remembering not just her mother today, but her grandmother too and pays tribute to “all women who love and nurture children”. [...]


Saturday 11th of May 2013

Nancy, I enjoyed reading this post, thank you for sharing.


Sunday 12th of May 2013

Diane, Thanks much for the kind words. I'm glad you liked it.


Friday 10th of May 2013

Love this post and that china! And how wonderful that you remember both your grandmothers. I knew only one of mine, and have no recollections.

Happy Mother's Day!


Sunday 12th of May 2013

Renn, I am lucky to remember both of my grandmothers. I'm sorry you have no recollections of yours. I hope you do have some family stories to carry with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Kate, of Kate Has Cancer

Friday 10th of May 2013

Every now and then, I catch a whiff of something that takes me back to my grandmother's apartment. It's usually the smell of coffee. I treasure those memories, as well as her cups and saucers. To tell you the truth, I'm glad she's not here anymore and doesn't have to face my Stage IV cancer. Anyway, I think she can do me more good "on the other side."


Sunday 12th of May 2013

Kate, Those coffee/grandmother memories are lovely ones to remember aren't they? I know what you mean about being glad your grandmother isn't here to have to face stuff you're facing. I've often said the same about my mom not being around to witness my diagnosis. It would have been hard for her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Friday 10th of May 2013

What a delight this post was...I could very much relate, too.

My mother is still here for my kids (ages 11 & 6) despite her BC diagnosis when my youngest was a baby. They know her and will have memories of her.

I hope with all my heart I get to see my grandchildren someday. As an older mom I already wondered if I would, but now w/a diagnosis in my mid 40's...well, who knows?

Thank you for sharing such a lovely memory. Happy Mom's Day to you, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest!!!!


Friday 10th of May 2013

Kayleigh, I'm so glad your mom is still there for you and for your kids. Those memories your kids have made and are making still are truly priceless, such a cliche, but so true. Here's to both of us getting to be grandmas some day! Thanks so much for reading. It's lovely to hear that you enjoyed this post. Sometimes it's nice to write about stuff like this too. Happy Mother's Day to you as well.

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