On one of our first dates, we wandered around a shopping village holding hands. I’m sure we both had iced coffees in our free hands. It was August of 2005.
We wandered into one of those kitchen supply stores. The ones that have little sampling stations throughout the store of fancy dips and fancy pretzels. Hal loves that stuff. We wandered separately and then together and then separately again. Down the aisles, looking at all the cute plates and gadgets and popcorn makers and hot chocolate sets and cheeseboards.
We knew from the first date we were done looking for each other. I had an inkling from one of the two dozen phone calls, before we even had our first date, that we would get married. Every item on the shelf in this kitchen store was like a crystal ball into the future that we had ahead of us. The home we would would set up. The meals we would have together. The mornings and the nights. I was pretty sure he felt the same way. I know I did.
We found ourselves at the wall of coffee mugs. They were “4 for $12” or something like that. Hal picked a dark blue and a purple. I already had a purple in my hand and was choosing my second color. We were going to get two mugs each for $6. The moment I saw Hal had already picked a purple mug, I instantly put mine back. I knew that these mugs were all going to live together in the same kitchen cabinet some day. I wanted them to make sense. I wanted four different colors. It was a very clear decision for me then. And it’s a very clear memory for me now. I picked light blue and green.
Those mugs got packed up to live together, as predicted, about 8 months later.
They’ve stayed mismatched throughout apartments and jobs.
Babies and pets.
Healthy days and sick days.
Life and death days.
Happy, sad, and status quo days.
Times of fear, discontent, and times you just want to scream until you can’t scream anymore days. I hate those days.
Times of joy and excitement. Positivity. Optimism.
“Things are going to be alright” days.
“Whew, that was a close one!” days.
Our mug collection has grown over the years to epic proportions. We sold a bunch at a garage sale one year and still have too many more packed up in the attic. But these four mismatched mugs are always front and center in the kitchen cabinet. They bring me right back to that kitchen store in those early dating days. Before we could possibly could know what we had ahead of us. Those mismatched happy colors.
The perfect match is actually a mismatch sometimes.