I Could Poison You

Dec 31, 2019

It started as a conversation about the street value of Lauren’s narcotic prescription from her surgery. We aren’t thinking of selling, and I’ll be throwing the extra away because we don’t need it in the house. Somehow the conversation moved to her Nana’s houseplants. Grace told her Nana at Hospice that she wants to take care of the plants when Nana dies. Then Grace looked over her shoulder into the China cabinet and asked “who gets your green tea cup?” It’s a single tea cup, and I don’t know if it’s valuable or not. But my tea cups mean something to me.

I told Grace that I don’t have specific plans for that particular tea cup, and she gave me that look. Head tilted. One well groomed, on fleek eyebrow raised. Nostrils flared. Corner of her mouth raised. I told her I’d consider leaving the green tea cup to her. We discussed which dishes she and her sisters would inherit from me someday, but there are several “unclaimed” pieces, and this green tea cup is one. Grace also wants the large pink bowl. If she had to choose between the two, she’d choose the pink bowl over the green tea cup. I don’t think she will have to choose.

I didn’t ask Grace, but I suspect she likes the green tea cup because Paul and I bought her a tea cup for Christmas, and it has some green on it. The one we bought for her is from Miss Havisham’s Curiosities website. The site has some pretty dishes, but they are a little on the dark side. Her Christmas gift tea cup says “I could poison you.” Who wouldn’t want to read that on the inside rim of a tea cup as you sit for tea with a friend? Her boyfriend, Chandler, gave her a beautiful cup and saucer that says “Insignificant Other.” This is not your grandmother’s antique China, and I love how irreverent Grace’s tastes are.

At 21, Grace is old enough to appreciate the beauty of China and the story behind each piece. She knows I will pass along to her the set made in Occupied Japan because the the pattern is called “Grace.” She knows Emily gets my Kate Spade set with the silver bows on it. She knows Lauren gets both the pink and the blue luncheon sets. Lauren spoke up from the darkness where she has been recuperating and asked “what if I don’t really want any China?” Blasphemy! Grace gave the look again. Head tilted. One well groomed, on fleek eyebrow raised. Nostrils flared. Corner of her mouth raised. Despite her cheeky taste in China, she still appreciates what I’ve set aside for her and her sisters.

Lauren right now isn’t at a place where she cares for the dishes. And she might not ever appreciate the dishes I want her to have. It’s fine with me if she gives them to Grace. She’ll have to make the decision to keep them or give them someday. Emily will as well. I don’t think Em has an opinion about dishes right now either way. I realize this generation doesn’t want the furniture and dishes and collectibles. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll leave these things to them, and what they do with it is up to the girls. Lauren might change her mind, and Emily might decide she has interest in the China. Or Grace alone might be the keeper of the China. I have pearls for each of them, and Christmas ornaments. Grace wants the pink bowl and the big family Bible. Lauren and Emily haven’t spoken up about particulars they want, but Oh Emily gets my cast iron skillet.

Regardless of the outcome, they will inherit things from me. They get some of their best and worst traits from me. But I look forward to helping Grace complete her set of insulting tea cups. I’ll gladly sit down with her over tea and I’m not worried at all about what message I might find on the rim of my tea cup.

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