Wednesday, September 28, 2011

coffee date

View from my front door.  If there was sound you would hear a rooster crowing.  

I am a morning person, I love coffee and breakfast food.  I love the sunrise and the cool breeze that wafts in from the window. As long as I have about 6 hours of sleep under my belt, I'm fine with getting up.  My husband hates the morning and even though morning comes every day, it always seems to hit him like a nasty surprise.  This has been a source of tension in our marriage.  I expected a coffee date every morning with the man I love and instead I usually get a grumpy guy squinting and grumbling around the house in his boxers.  Ah well, such is life.  

It wasn't until this year that I got the coffee date buddy I wanted, and I only realized it this very morning.  Every morning I share a cup of coffee with my two year old daughter, Noelle.  Every morning when I help her out of her toddler bed she hugs me with an enthusiastic "Good morning!"  After the coffee is made, I pour myself a cup and then I heat up a bit of milk in a sippy cup and top it off with a couple tablespoons of coffee for her.  And this is my unexpected coffee partner.  I always thought my morning date would take place over two mugs, but it turns out that for now, it's a mug and a sippy cup.  

The remnants of my morning coffee date.
Even though we often part ways after we receive our java (she watches mickey on the couch and I usually sit down at the table to write before the boys get up) there is a camaraderie that links us across the room.  She is the coffee date I always wanted, and every morning I try to make her feel wanted and seen.  Even at the age of two we all long to connect, and since she isn't able to connect on my level, I have to get down and connect with her on hers.  

Pretty much any time I reflect on mothering, I drift back to my own Mom.  Who doesn't?   Our relationship was usually pretty hard.  For starters, I am energy incarnate.  I don't' stop moving from the time I leave bed until the time I crawl back in.  I have always been this way, I played so hard I often fell asleep face down in spaghetti in my highchair.  My daughter is a lot the same way.  

My energy was a source of frustration for my Mom, because she was coping with mental illness and I pushed her buttons and ran her down with my willfulness.  Growing up I often felt all- wrong, like a mistake or a problem.  I was taken to a lot of doctors and put on a lot of pills from the age of three until the age of 18.  For along time I felt like they were trying to fix me but that they couldn't because I was too screwed up.  My mom made some mistakes, but in hindsight I  give her grace, mostly because being angry with her now solves nothing.  However, this insight does serve as a reminder of how I want to respond to my own little energetic girl, who just came over to steal sips of my coffee after she drained her own.  She also is refusing to eat the overnight fig-raisin steel-cut oatmeal I made us.  Sad.  

Everyone wants to feel important, seen and loved and so I try to respond like that to my daughter.  Even when she asks the same question ten times in a row I respond to most of her chatter, because I remember how awful it is to feel like an annoyance every time you open your mouth.  I am not a perfect mom, I screw up every day, I promise.  I am not always intentional and I am not always patient.  Some days I feel like all that is keeping me going is the hope of a glass of wine after they fall asleep.  But I love my children, and I want them to feel cherished.  I know that they will have moments of self doubt, but I want to do all I can to communicate to them that I love who God created them to be, even if some days it flat out exhausts me.  

So most mornings Noelle and I drink coffee and watch Mickey Mouse.  We build a lot of block towers and we bake pretend cakes.  We race across the backyard and draw endless shapes on the patio.  Right now she is running around with a clothespin in her mouth.  I should probably go put a stop to that.  So in closing, I hope that you are able to see the people in your life as the beautiful gifts they are, even when they drain you dry.  God is the source that will quench your thirst, and he typically only gives you enough to do one day, it keeps you coming back.  He's brilliant that way.  

We all have pain from our past, but instead of carrying it around with you, forgive.  And use it to influence the choices you make today.  What is something from your past you can unload from your backpack.  Haul it out and leave it this morning, then use the memory of it to change the way you move forward.  

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