It’s not what you think.
People often ask me how I “do it”. How do I homeschool an ASD child, keep up with two teenaged girls one of whom just got her first boyfriend (yes, Doireann has a boyfriend now, and my husband might be considering switching political parties and joining the NRA), and manage Grace? In a word: coffee.
Yes, coffee and I are best friends. It wasn’t always like this. In fact, I used to have a rather passionate love affair with tea. I was a tea party maven hosting high teas, cream teas, and afternoon teas. I was whipping up scones, tarts, finger sandwiches, and cookies that would make Julia Child salivate. White teas, green teas, oolong teas, and black teas of all varieties filled my cupboards. Tea accoutrements of every shape and size graced my tea table. Beautiful bone china tea cups were added to my collection annually. Then, one day I noticed that I would get a headache after drinking my cup of afternoon tea–particularly black tea. Nay, said I. Not possible. I wasn’t going to give up my tea! It represented beauty and a chance to offer hospitality and make connections with friends and strangers alike! Alas, the more tea I drank, the more my headaches increased. I found myself slowly giving up my beloved tea leaves for my ancestors’ favorite beverage–coffee.
I come from a family of Scandinavians. Coffee, aside from Akvavit, is the only thing to drink. Tea? Are you kidding? That’s brown water. Children get started on coffee when they’re tiny, and they keep on drinkin’ it until they’re old and grey and start asking for coffee with hot water. I was the black sheep of the family, shunned at parties and social gatherings–“You and your tea go stand over there while we stand over here with our black sludge and moonshine.” They all seemed so provincial to me whilst I felt so refined, looking down upon my family with my rarefied tastes. Snobbery, in my experience, is never a good thing for one will inevitably meet someone haughtier and more willing to express their views at your expense…and usually in full view of other know-it-alls.
My headaches increased in intensity and frequency, and I was driven to drink…coffee. I soon came to love it possibly more than tea. I have a terrible jones for coffee these days, and a day doesn’t go by wherein I don’t drink at least one cup of this wondrous nectar . The smell of it brewing gives me a bit of a rush. Tea never did that for me. I really liked tea, but I LERVE coffee.
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning aside from brush my teeth and answer the call of nature is drink a cup of coffee with milk and agave syrup. That is what I look forward to. Once I have imbibed my favorite beverage, then I feel that I can do whatever the day requires of me. It’s my one moment of pleasure in a day that might be full of, let’s face it, moments of unhappiness, frustration, and lots of pressure.
So, what was my crisis? One of my children drank all the milk last night and said nothing. This morning, there was coffee but no milk! I might love coffee, but the only black coffee I’ll drink is espresso or Turkish coffee. I’m not drinking a big ol’ cup of coffee straight up. I just can’t palate it. So, there I was this morning, panting in the kitchen, realizing that there would be no coffee, and I wanted to cry. Grace missed her bus so I had to drive her 20 minutes in rush hour traffic to school. Milly was extra needy, and my husband is home sick due to some bug he caught while traveling. No coffee for me. None. Niente. Rien. Nihil.
I have since solved the Coffee Crisis of 2013. I have a lovely container of milk, and I’m currently sipping a cup of joe. I feel better already. Milly is playing, my husband is horking up a lung in the bedroom, and Grace is at school. My cats have gotten the 1 PM “crazies” out of the way, and I am currently pretending that I don’t have laundry, writing, illustrating, and cleaning to do.
I find it so funny that coffee is one of the reasons I like to get up in the morning. I think I like it more than chocolate, and that’s saying something. Make it a mocha, an au lait or miel, or even an Americano. I’ll drink it. Just not Folger’s crystals or Sanka. I try not to be snobbish, but a girl’s gotta have her standards. In the face of Grace’s myriad issues and Milly’s autism and, well, Doireann’s new boyfriend and Eadaoin’s cyclothymic mood swings…and, okay, even my husband’s recent antics, if I have a cup or two of coffee in my day, I can almost do anything. Or, at least, I think I can, and thinking you can is the beginning of actually accomplishing it!
Thank you, God, for coffee. It really is ambrosia.