The Story of a Broken Mug: Memory Over Matter


Almost eight years ago, my husband and I were married on a wooden bridge that lived above a babbling creek. This particular bridge lived in the garden of one of Green Mountain Falls most well-known restaurants, The Pantry. We were young and madly in love – and while surrounded by our friends and family, we said, “I do.”

For our wedding night, we stayed in a quaint cabin just a couple of blocks away from our wedding venue. I remember waking up to the sun streaming in through open windows and the crisp mountain air greeting us as husband and wife. That morning, we headed back down to The Pantry to have breakfast. We both had biscuits and ordered coffee. He drank his black while I tore open my three packets of sugar and splashed in a bit of cream. That’s been our usual ever since- even though we’ve both converted to decaf.

Before heading off to our honeymoon destination, I bought a mug to represent this significant moment in our lives. And until two days ago, that mug has been with us.

Broken Mug CSMB

I could go into details about how it shattered into pieces, but all you need to know is this: I have a 15 month old little boy.

In the split second that I saw him raise his tiny arm into the air, mug clenched tightly in his fist – to the moment when it crashed into the floor, I grieved. Honestly. I grieved the loss of the mug. I guess I’m sentimental like that – loading meaning and memory into tangible objects.

There are thousands of pictures living in our phones, baby clothes stored delicately in storage bins that may never be worn again, and folders of artwork, stories, and cards that our children have created for us. We’ve turned enjoying our memories into curating a museum of things, all the while having forgotten that one is far more significant than the other.

Just as quickly as I grieved, I recovered in time to realize that the mug wasn’t really important. I didn’t lose anything with its demise – instead I gained a new perspective of how I want to go about living my life as a mother, as a wife, and a rememberer.

We often simply just rely on the material objects in our lives to curate moments because we haven’t slowed ourselves down enough to experience them. It’s almost as if we think that the object can carry the story for us – when it can’t. It’s only one part. It’s only a slice. It isn’t the capsule – we are.

Our jobs aren’t just to collect objects to be stored in some dusty basement never to be seen again. Instead, it’s to have the ability to sit down at the table with our family and to share a story.

Slow down. Stop collecting. Start experiencing and start remembering.

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Wife to a bonafide mountain man and mama to two toddlers and a newborn babe, Tabitha doesn't find much margin for boredom. When things get crazy, as they often do — Tabitha fervently writes down what keeps her pressing on. She believes that every messy minute of motherhood is worth the daily fight and will stop at nothing to pursue God through it all. While often quite wordy and long-winded, you can count on Tabitha to be completely transparent and brutally honest when it comes to life and everything else in-between. While she’d rather meet you over a cup of coffee on her front porch to share the lessons she's regularly learning, you can also visit with her over on her blog or Instagram. Her personal blog, Tabitha Panariso, is a space where you can find her writing on faith, motherhood, and daily life. You can also find her capturing the everyday rhythms of life on her Instagram, @tabithapanariso


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