Get the tissues, I weep as I write. This was not what I had set out to do today, but memories got in my way today and it seems appropriate.
While putting something away in an out of the way kitchen cabinet today my eyes focused on a rather large box. I knew what was in it, even though it has been in this cabinet for so many years I can’t remember when exactly I put it there.
Inside were six, wrapped in tissue paper, Irish goblets. I have never used them. The stickers were still on their sides. Immediately a wave of sorrow and grief washed over me and I somehow knew now was the time to let those goblets see the light of day and be used. Even if it meant they might get broke.
In 1993 I had the chance of a lifetime to make a 16 day trip touring England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. My mother wanted me to go with her and her friend Virginia. I was working full time as a Corrections Officer in the County jail, so if I saved and saved and pinched my pennies I knew I could go. My two oldest children were in grade school. It was hard to leave them, but this was not a trip for small children.
We had a wonderful time. It was a trip I had never expected to be able to make. But everything fell into place for it to happen. While I was in Ireland I bought just one goblet. I had saved for this trip, but I did not have a lot of extra money to spend on “things”. One goblet was enough. It was beautiful with a green stem and a short body. Every time I used it the memories of that trip came back full force and I would long for Ireland again.
During the trip my mom and Virginia kept talking about the three of us coming back, when Virginia’s granddaughter and my daughter were older, teenagers, and we would all have this wonderful experience together, Grandmas, Moms and daughters.
Life gets in the way though doesn’t it? I would only stay at my job in Corrections for 3 years. It was hard on me, hard mentally to work there, a mom with two young children. I switched shifts every two months and missed out on a lot of family time activities. I couldn’t take it anymore and gave up a good paying job to work a part time job as a Church Secretary, with no benefits. I would keep that job for 7 years. It was good for me. I didn’t have to miss out on family time, but it also meant a lot less money coming into our household. No extra money for extravagance, like a trip to Ireland.
One holiday or family gathering, I don’t remember what we had come together to celebrate, but I had pulled out that goblet to use. My daughter while carrying dishes to the kitchen to clean up broke that goblet. I was furious and yelled which upset her and rightly so. My mother kept trying to tell me it was “just a glass, it was an accident”. I knew all that, but I could not keep from feeling broken myself when I saw the broken glass. I knew it was “just a glass”, as well as I knew it was an accident. My daughter and my mother could not see what was in my heart that night. That broken glass made it crystal clear to me we would never be able to make that trip we had talked so much about. It was out of reach and I had known that in my heart for some time, but still held on to that dream.
At Christmas that year my Mom tried to “make it right”. She bought a set of goblets, made in Ireland through a catalog company. I smiled and thanked her, but in my head I was saying “they weren’t the same”, the dream was gone. That gift simply brought me more sorrow, knowing we would never take that trip, but I could not say that aloud.
My mother has been gone for almost 5 years now. We will never take that trip. But today, all these years later, for the first time, I can unwrap those glasses, wash them, take one and pour it full to the brim with the last can of Dr. Pepper left over from a Memorial Day picnic and remember that trip so long ago with my mother and her friend Virginia where we laughed and we smiled and if I or someone else accidentally breaks one of these glasses…..well I’ve got 5 more and each time I take one of these glasses I will hold and cherish the memories on that one and only trip to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and some days I will continue to weep, for the loss of my mother and some days I will smile and laugh at the wonderful memories. Go do something new, use the good glasses and remember the good days.