Rita: Thrift stores, OfferUp, Freecycle, and similar second-hand “shopping” methods are my friend. I’ve found some amazing and fun items in these places over the years (think Tiffany lamps for free and fresh tomatoes from someone’s garden overflow), including most of the furniture in my apartment, much of my clothing, a massive cat tree that my cat adores, and lots and lots and lots of china.
After moving into a new home, I’m always on the hunt for certain items that were damaged or destroyed during the move, will fill a new need (every home is laid out differently!), or generally would be a nice thing to “add” to our decor or whatever. My particular weakness is china, an affinity I inherited from my grandmother, Jerrie Mock, the former owner of at least twenty-plus full or partial sets of china.
So, when I saw an ad on OfferUp for “assorted china” this past September, I reached out.
Rita: I drove into the city to pick up the box of frames, assorted china, mugs, and other items. There was a pair of beautiful teacups and saucers that I wanted to give to Cyndi. The Dutch-esque pattern meant she had to have it! When I opened the box, I found a second pair of matching teacups and saucers.
I’m not huge on roses or pink, but something about them really clicked. The delicate beauty and elegance fit right in with my existing collection of mismatched china.
Just hours before Cyndi came for her belated birthday celebration with us, an idea snagged me and scratched at my brain until it formed into a plan: Sister Teacups.
I would give Cyndi her set of cups and saucers and I would keep the other. When she comes to visit, we have tea in our cups together for a relaxing wind-down from the world. When I visit her, the same ritual may take place.
And whenever we see these cups, we know we have a sister waiting to sit down and sip tea and speak of deep things together, even if it’s just via the computer screen.
The little reminder helps us feel just a little less alone on those nights when people are jerks or when dreams fall through. We have experienced so many of the same pains and trials and “get” each other so deeply. These little cups remind us of that incredible connection and that knowledge of being well-loved by each other.
Cyndi: Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my birthday. This birthday was different, it was hard and significant at the same time. I decided to “spin” one aspect and make it fun. I was going to celebrate this birthday by announcing that it was the “5th anniversary of my 55th birthday” and let everyone do the math.
I arrived at Rita’s for our celebration, we had a wonderful dinner, and then it was time for gifts. When I opened this gift, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I unwrapped the first cup and it was a beautiful Dutch pattern that I instantly adored.
When I finished, sitting in front of me was a set of these beauties. Perfect little saucers and cups, with a little Dutch girl and boy holding hands, and yellow tulips. Truly a gift with much meaning from someone who knows me.
But that wasn’t all there was to this gift. Rita showed me the other set of tea cups, and said, “We now have Sister Teacups, a set each, so that when we are visiting we can have tea together.”
What a brilliant, thoughtful, and loving idea!
Cyndi: When I first saw Rita, I knew we’d be friends. Which was crazy because we were at a Doctor Who convention and we had no mutual connections. But I knew. A few weeks later, her profile ran across mine on Facebook and I IM’d her. I could say that the rest is history, but there is so much more: We became sisters.
It isn’t a common occurrence to find people who speak your language on one hand and yet are still different enough that they add dimension to your life on the other.
One of the blessings of Rita is being loved well. That is a gift that God has used in my life significantly.
The Dutch teacups also are a nod to my Daddy, something Rita knows. My Daddy was from Holland, and although there is some debate about it, I clearly remember him saying “cuppa (pronounced coopa) coffee” whenever he’d go for that cup of joe. He was a funny man, so twisting his Dutch language for his own purposes is absolutely possible. After all, he tried to spell fire as fyr in a Scrabble game.
I love the Dutch teacups as a nod to him, and although it won’t be coffee, I believe Daddy would approve.
Rita and I have had tea together, and via Zoom when we have been unable to get together. Knowing we each have these sets is a connection to a type of home we have with one another.