It was my first outing with the new baby, our first child. We strolled to our neighborhood Starbucks, where we introduced our son to our favorite barista and the store manager. In an adorable gesture of congratulations, they wrote “Mom” and “Dad” on our cups instead of our names. I love the crummy cameraphone pic of that moment.
There are lots of ways, some more trivial than others, to mark the eras in your life: what color your hair was, or where you were living, or whom you were dating. For me, I can basically sum it up with coffee. For example, there’s the Gloria Jean’s Ice Cap phase (bought at the mall in junior high, of course); the midnight French press phase (I get the shakes just thinking about how caffeinated I was in college); the espresso-before-I-could-get-out-of-bed phase (thanks in large part to the espresso machine wedding gift, and my husband who fired it up at sunrise every day, this marked both my newlywed and my serious career era).
And since starting TTC in 2006, it’s been the decaf phase. I made an effort to taper from regular to decaf, trying to avoid the debilitating caffeine withdrawal headaches. Then once I was off caffeine, that was it; now, a barista forgetting to mark the “X” in the decaf box can send me spinning miserably for the rest of the day. This decaf phase is a permanent arrangement.
But who measures out her life with coffee spoons?* Well, I do. I build memories, experiences, relationships around coffee. And to me, struggling every day as a harried stay-at-home mom, a simple pleasure like coffee is especially meaningful. Starbucks is my refuge; sitting down with a cup of coffee is my respite.
So I’m a decaf mom. I gave up the buzz for my babies, and I’m glad I did… but making the switch has, I’ll admit, caused more headaches that I’d expected. Here’s hoping that sharing a virtual cuppa with some kindred spirits will help me get through, and maybe I’ll even be a better mom for it.
*With apologies to Prufrock and TS Eliot.