Every day I go to the same coffee shop and order the same thing. It is one of those constants in my life. I’ve written about it often because honestly, it is sometimes the best part of my day. This morning I was running late and there was a line at the counter that was moving REALLY SLOWLY (probably not, perception is weird) so I stood and shuffled my feet in the line until it was my turn.
They know my order: medium house coffee to go. Yes, it is a coffee shop, not a Starbucks. No fancy names. I noticed that right before she took my order the woman behind the counter filled the thermal carafe with cream. She then asked me if I took cream in my coffee, which I thought was weird since it wasn’t part of the normal ordering process. It took me a second to realize that she was going to give me the cream and have me take it over to the table where that stuff is kept. I then offered to do just that for you.
“Oh, you are a very nice man,” she said.
“My mom raised me to be nice,” I responded.
“I can’t wait until you bring her in to get her own medium coffee so I can tell her she did a good job.”
It was a beautiful sentiment. I tend to be blunt about my mother’s passing only because I get caught up in a fantasy world where she still is alive. I will have a wave of guilt because it has been weeks since I called her. That feeling will then be replaced by a feeling of incredible loss. Not as crushing of a feeling as the weeks after her death, but it is still a gaping void in my life. I didn’t ruin the moment by stating the cold fact.
See, here’s the thing. I have always been proud of my mother. I was never the kid, even teenager, who didn’t want to seen with his mom. One of my fondest memories was the time my mom took me to a haunted house in East Helena. There were kids from my class there and they were all so cool going it alone and I was going through with my mom. Halfway through, my Mom was gently herding everyone through, all of us terrified. That’s my mom.
While I was never proud of the house I lived in and dreaded friends seeing it, I was never ashamed of my mom. I honestly do wish I could bring my mom to the coffee shop and introduce her to the women who give me my coffee every day. They’d see how awesome she was and by the transitional property see how awesome I am. She never got a chance to visit me in Chicago and be a part of my life here. While I sincerely doubt she’d enjoy most of what I like here, she’d be happy to see the friends I surround myself with.
I don’t know what I intended to accomplish with this piece. Yet another tribute to my mother? Possibly. I have people in my life now that I really wish could meet my Mom. I feel like they could really benefit from pure unconditional love. Of all the lessons she tried to impart to me that I can give to the world, I think her pure sense of love is the most important for me to push forward. And for all my own struggles with love, I think I forget that at one time I was loved absolutely and unconditionally.