When I was little, all the way through my teen years even, my favorite thing was going to Grandma’s. When I was a baby, and both my parents were working, my Dad dropped me off at my Grandma G’s house in the morning. It’s weird how much I can remember about those days given that I was so young. He’d carry me in like “a sack of potatoes” and put me in her arms and I felt so happy and safe. She’d put me in my highchair, even though I was probably a little big for it at the time, and feed me breakfast. There were three standard choices: eggs over easy with toast, graham crackers broken up in a bowl and covered with milk (like cereal), or powdered donuts dipped in coffee. I still remember it like it was yesterday…and those would be three of my favorite things to eat in this world to this day. But my absolute favorite? Donuts in coffee.
She’d break the donut up into bite-size pieces, put a piece on a spoon, dip it the perfectly warm coffee and feed it to me. It was heaven. We always started our days this way. After breakfast it was time to play either outside with the dog that looked like Lassie, inside jumping on the bed, watching Ryan’s Hope after lunch in the living room or singing songs. She was the Grandma that wouldn’t yell if I had an accident, but would laugh and smile and assure me it was ok. She was the Grandma that would let me eat chip dip right out of the container because it was yummy. She was the Grandma that made me feel so loved. I always wonder what it would have been like to have her in my life for longer than 4 short years, but I’ll never know. But she certainly did start my love affair with coffee.
My other Grandma was just as special but in a different way. She was the FUN Grandma, the always laughing Grandma, the ball of energy Grandma. I loved going to her house on the weekend. She had tons of magazines–The Enquirer, People, all of those crazy celebrity mags—my favorite cottage cheese, diet pepsi…and coffee. We would play cards—Hearts usually—and drink coffee. I, of course, loved mine sweet with lots of cream and sugar. My aunt and Grandma would always tease my Mom that she liked it so strong it would “put hair on their chest” and I always giggled even though I didn’t know what it meant. I only knew that I loved being in that room, with my Grandma, my aunt, my Mom and my sister, playing cards and drinking coffee. I felt safe and loved and cherished.
In high school, I was one of few in my circle of friends who loved the taste of coffee. In the 90’s, coffeehouses were just becoming a “thing” in our town and I often wanted to go there with my friends go there on a Friday night. Some of them thought it was a place for stoners and weirdos, but all I knew was I loved the way it made me feel. There was a special feeling that came with being at a coffeehouse, drinking coffee and sharing laughs with friends.
In college, I was lucky enough to have friends who liked to party, for sure, but who also liked to go to a hockey game and then out for coffee. We’d smoke (sorry, Mom!), drink coffee, talk about life and laugh. These were my favorite times. I felt so lucky to have friends who understood me, who loved me and who loved coffee. During these years my morning cup of joe also became a necessity. I was working full-time and taking a full class-load so there was little to no sleep for me. Coffee was not only a continued source of comfort and familiarity, but a necessity to start my day.
During my first pregnancy, I denied myself coffee because I had read that caffeine wasn’t good for the baby. During the first few weeks, when I had nausea, it didn’t sound good anyway. But after that subsided, I craved it like crazy but didn’t want to do anything to put my baby in jeopardy. It was, and still is, a tradition that my Mom and sister and I always have coffee when we’re together. We just do. And so it was weird to not partake. After my miscarriage, when my Mom and I went to visit my sister at college, we went out to lunch and I was able to order coffee. I started bawling over my dessert and coffee and looked at the two women who know me best and said “I would give up coffee forever if I could have my baby back.” It was the first time that coffee didn’t bring me feelings of nostalgia and comfort, but pain.
After the kids were born, I needed coffee like I needed air. Having three kids under four is no easy or energy-filled task. There were days when I honestly didn’t think I’d make it. It became a life-line most days and still is today. If I’m having a rough day, or just need a little cheering up, nothing makes me feel better like a steaming hot cup of the good stuff with cream and sugar. Every morning, when Matt brings me my first steaming hot cup of coffee fixed just the way I like it, I feel loved and special. I can’t imagine giving it up. Not just because I need it, but because in a weird and beautiful way, it’s part of me.
**From MamaKat’s writing workshop prompt: How did your love affair with Coffee begin?**