I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.


My reaction had been over the top.

“YOU JUST BROKE MY FAVORITE MUG,”  I had screeched at him.

He was just a little boy, being a little boy, being silly, or rambunctious, or energetic, or all of the above, while he did his morning chore, emptying the dishwasher.  Andrew was maybe 5 or 6 when this had happened.

The thing is, my favorite mug really had no sentimental value at all.  It was a large white mug with a big red heart on it.  I had probably picked it up on a sale rack somewhere, and the reason I liked it so much was because of its large size.  I really do like my morning coffee. A lot. And a lot of it. This mug held a lot of coffee. Big.  Do you get the picture?

When he broke it, I screamed at him.  I remember watching him cower down under the wrath of his mother.  My heart melted at the sight. My little boy was so much more precious to me than the mug.

He picked up the broken pieces, and tried to piece together the puzzle. “Can we glue it?” he asked hopefully.

“No, no,” I said, trying to sound like it really didn’t matter, because it didn’t, but it did, sort of. “It’s okay.  I have lots of mugs.”

“But you really liked this one, didn’t you, Mom?” He knew. He always knew. He could read me like a book.

A few days later we went shopping in a neighboring city.  The little town where we lived had very few places to shop, but the “city” — I think its population is around 20,000 — the city seemed to have everything.  I took Andrew, Brandon, and Charlie with me.  They were always with me, it seemed.  Sometimes now, when I see a mother out shopping with three little boys, I want to run over and hug her and tell I know what it’s like.

Anyway we went shopping.  Charlie rode in the backpack, Brandon was in the stroller, and Andrew held my hand as we walked down the street.  We went past a gift-y shop with a rack of mugs prominently displayed in the window.  I knew that Andrew had asked his father for some money before we left, and now, he stood looking in the window of this shop.

“Mom,” he said decidedly, “I need to go in this store, and you need to wait out here.”

“I’m a little uncomfortable letting you go into a store all by yourself,” I told him.

“Dad gave me some money and I want to buy something in there,” he said.

“Well…” I drew out my decision, “I don’t know…”

“This is important,” he said, looking at me quite gravely. “I need to buy something.  It’s for you. It’s something I broke. And it’s a surprise. I’m not going to tell you anymore.”

How could I refuse?  I waited outside with Brandon and Charlie, trying not to look in at Andrew at the mug rack.   He was so darn cute.

When he came back out, he had stuffed his purchase under his shirt, like I wouldn’t notice the bulge there.

That night, he made a big production of giving me the new mug.  It was a standard size mug with an array of hearts on it.  But I proudly drank my coffee out of it for the sake of my little boy, until my sister gave me a new mega-sized mug.

Broken can be beautiful when seen through the right eyes.

I remember that story and those days not because of a broken mug, but because of the love of a little boy.

my mug shelf

my mug shelf


This post is part of “Five Minute Friday“.  Rule #1 for FMF is “Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.”  This week’s prompt was “Broken.”



8 comments on “Broken

  1. lala1966
    March 29, 2013

    very touching! I only have one boy and he’s 24 years old now but I can so relate 😉

    • sarahlangdon
      March 29, 2013

      Andrew is actually 28 now, I wonder if he remembers this like I do.

  2. sarahlangdon
    March 29, 2013

    Oh, and just to keep things honest here, I didn’t write this in five minutes. It was maybe more like 15 — but I did do it in one sitting in one steady stream.

  3. WesAnna
    March 29, 2013

    What a beautiful memory!!!

  4. Amy P Boyd
    March 29, 2013

    Don’t our children teach us so much??? Mine have taught me so much about love, forgiveness and all things Christ. (Linking from FMF)

  5. Jen
    March 29, 2013

    I too love my coffee, but that’s not the only reason I find this story so relatable and charming. Thank you for the gentle (and funny) reminder of what matters most. This is a beautiful post; glad your coffee mug picture jumped out at me on the Five Minute Friday link up. 🙂

  6. Gina
    April 7, 2013

    Oh gosh. I remember a story like this with my own mom. My brother and I were fighting over some old pillow that both of us liked and wound up ripping it right down the middle. Mom found out when she got home and didn’t even yell. She just cried. Turns out it was her baby pillow, that she had kept safe and intact for 30-something years. We obviously couldn’t replace it, and it was the *worst* feeling. Even now, the pillow remains ripped and perched on the top shelf of the coat closet at home. Every time I’m home and go for my coat, I see it there. 20 years of guilt!
    She’s good…

    • sarahlangdon
      April 8, 2013

      I once broke a vase while messing around with my brother. We sort of pieced it together and left it on the table. It turned out that it had been a wedding gift. I felt terrible!

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