I don’t get to see friends often.
My job keeps me in my office, alone, swimming around in my own head until it’s time to pick up the kids from school.
My kids keep me running back and forth from sports to sewing class to friends’ houses to parties and school events and into the kitchen and laundry room and OMG do I ever stop running?
My life landed me in a place where I have friends nearby who are also tied up with life stuff, but also friends who connected through the internet from around the country.
We text, message, call, and try to squeeze in some face time now and again, but I still need a little extra something sometimes.
So I grab some joe.
I drink two cups of coffee a day, every day.
One in the morning. One in the early afternoon.
Many times I’ll find myself shuffling from my office through a quiet house to make that second cup, tired from an early morning and hours of staring at a screen, trying to brace myself for another relentless afternoon that will have me on the go go go for a good 5-7 hours before I can breathe again.
My chest will tighten and I’ll think, I really wish I had a friend with me right now because they understand this. They understand me. Their mere presence is a salve when I get like this.
But they’re at work or school or in another state or in the thick of kid-ness, making “us” time impossible.
So I reach into the special corner cabinet in my kitchen and pick one of my favorite coffee mugs to fill.
You see, my friends know me well, and that connection comes through when they get me the perfect gift. I cherish the collection of mugs from friends that has been slowly growing over the years.
Whether it’s cute or sweet or an inside joke or something they grabbed simply because it made them think of me, I feel closer to friends when I wrap my hands around a warm mug from them.
I’ve also both sent mugs to friends that match some of my personal favorites, and bought myself mugs that represent a time when I was surrounded by friends’ laughter, support, love.
A strange kind of tether, but it works for me.
I might not get to sip coffee with my friends as often as I want to, but throughout the week I find myself comforted by their presence, anyway.
A little mug hug can be quite a big thing.
Especially for someone like me, who isn’t always so great about reaching out to let people know when I need them.
I feel less alone when I’m reminded that there was a moment when a lovely person I’m lucky enough to have in my life had me on their mind.
I feel less alone when I use a mug that brings me back to that moment when I felt loved and supported, no strings attached.
I feel less alone when I’m doing something I’ve done countless times with friends while laughing, sharing stories, wiping tears, encouraging one another, or watching our kids play together. The memories echo in my ears with every sip, with every gentle clunk of the cup settling back onto the table.
So time and time again I reach inside the special corner cabinet, pluck some ceramic happiness out, and feel that tightness in my chest disappear.
Then I am alone no more.
(And, yes, this works for rough mornings, too.)
Kim Bongiorno is an author, full time freelance writer, and the blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying. Learn more by connecting with her: Facebook · Twitter · Instagram · Goodreads · Amazon.com · BookBub · Newsletter · Book Announcement Mailing List