Today’s motherhood story comes from my church friend, Lynda Jordan. Lynda and I met through the ministry of our favorite local coffee shop, Bare Bulb Coffee. I met Lynda as she was parenting a teenager and have been so grateful to watch and learn from someone one step ahead of me in the parenting journey. I am more grateful that Lynda and her teenage daughter have been mentors to my own daughter as she crosses the road from girl to young woman, since I couldn’t ask for better examples for my girl to follow.
I had the pleasure of not only knowing Lynda as a friend, but of serving her and her daughter in my job as a barista at Bare Bulb when they would come in for their weekly Mom/Daughter book study. If you want to know the true character of someone, serve them in a minimum wage position. I can tell you from experience that Lynda and her daughter are true gems. What I didn’t know on those mornings we shared together was just how important a Mom and daughter coffee date could be. How listening and hearing each other in a neutral third space could transform a relationship as delicate and changing as a teenage girl’s with her Mom. So dear readers, especially those of you with teenage daughters, I share with you the words and wisdom of Lynda.
Coffee is a language to me. With my coffee I am united with people around the world. It smells like relationship to me. It makes me brave.
Let me begin. I am a mess of contradictions. I am a homeschool mom of one child who is as far removed from the Duggars as one can be. I am a Prius driver, but I spent hours with my daughter on car lots looking at vehicles that are not known as fuel efficient or environmentally friendly. I am the mom who thought, if I read the right books, marked the right check boxes, spoke the right verses, I could get it “right”. I was so insecure about motherhood, but there was no way anyone or my daughter would be allowed to know.
Pre-teen years are hard, they just are for everyone. By early teen years I was questioning every choice we had made with my daughter. Insecurity was winning with her and with me. Then the life giving ingredient came into our lives. Coffee.
I have always loved coffee. The smell when I was little meant my parents were up and having time together. The cup in my hands feels warm and feeds my soul with warmth. Picking the right mug in the morning is the first important choice I make for the day.
So my insecure self took my young daughter and bought her a latte at a local, fair-trade coffee shop. We left two hours later and never had any idea how much the coffee and shop would change us. We spent so much time talking, upset, fighting, celebrating, serving, and most importantly listening to each other in that coffee shop. We read books about the Old Testament, women’s rights, and Quakers. Coffee glued my daughter and me together.
Yes, I am still a mess, a bundle of contradictions, and an insecure mom. However, I am a better person because coffee and croissants became the communion that bonded my only child and me together. Yes, we still go there to “drink” away a bad moment in the day, or celebrate the completion of an important test. Yes, coffee is important to me being a mom and an essential ingredient in my relationships.
My daughter is about starting college next fall and is beyond excited. She knows the best place to get coffee beans, and I hope how to connect, listen, and grow with others.
I know she taught me more than the books or check lists ever could teach a mom.