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« Things I Believe | Main | Being Betty Crocker »
Thursday
Jan312013

A Mother, A Daughter, and A Cup of Coffee

This morning I was awake at 4:30 due to spinal nerve blocks performed yesterday. My mom stayed overnight with me. I couldn't sleep due to the steroids in the injections, which propelled me to the kitchen. Like Lance Armstrong. Only different.

Mom came downstairs after hearing my thumping of cabinets, tapping of the coffee strainer against the trash can from yesterday's grounds, scooping the last bit of Roast out of the bottom of the bag, and  the hollow clunk of the lid on the coffee maker. She was awake at 3:15. Without steroids. But life downstairs means little to her if she is alone. A quality I too rarely admire.

I laid down on the sofa in front of the fire, gratefully stunned by the silence of sleeping children and comatose nerves.

I share the conversation below, because it struck me as a dynamic so normal, yet utterly fantastic in its simplicity. We are a mother and daughter simply trying to find a sweet spot in the evolution of time. Think of it as a personal study of the mother-daughter dynamic boiled down to a simple cup of coffee.

Mom: (In kitchen) Honey can I get you a cup of coffee?
Me: (On sofa in front of fire) I'll get it Ma, no worries, it's not done yet.  
Mom: Can I get down a mug for you?
Me: No Ma, I'll get it, but thank you. (I rise from the sofa)
Mom: Well, which cup do you want? (She stares at the cabinet of mugs)
Sidebar: I have a thing about mugs. There are 28 mugs in our cabinet. I have three that I use on a daily basis. Because the lip of it is just right. But some days I want a bigger mug. Like my mug I ordered from The View during the Rosie phase. Rosie's face is all faded now, as is Barbara's, but they still look good. Some days, I like to use my mug from The Coffee Bean with a quote on it from Alice in Wonderland that says "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." But this morning it was in the dishwasher.
Me: Just get yours, I'll get mine. 
Mom: Do you have your special creamer? I couldn't find it. 
Me: I'll get it Ma. It's shaped like a milk carton now. 
Mom: Well THAT's why I couldn't find it. 
I set the creamer on the counter under the cabinet of neglected mugs to choose mine for today. It was my other special mug. The one that says, "PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."
Mom:The coffee looks ready. Is it ready?
Me: The timer hasn't gone off, it's too thick right now. It will be too strong for you.
Mom: But you always like it strong.
Me: Not today Ma, wait just a minute and it will be fine.
-----------we wait-----------
DING!

MOM: COFFEES READY!
Me: OK, I'll be there in a minute (sitting on the sofa)
Mom: Do you want me to get you coffee?
And so it goes.
I love my Mom. She loves me. No matter how old I get, how many children I have raised, or wrinkles I have earned, I will forever and always be her child. One day, she will not be here to ask me if I would like a cup of coffee. And I will not be able to write about the simplicity of her offer. So for now, I breathe, she exhales, and we grow through time. Hoping one day it will be easier, with yes and no answers. But how very, very boring that would be. Especially over freshly brewed cup of coffee.

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