This is Mother’s Day. I got to thinking about a story I wrote years ago, about how I never finish a cup of coffee. This habit dates way back to the time when Mama and I used to have coffee together on Saturday mornings, at the kitchen table of our family home.
Mama and I shared a vanity gene that we possibly got from her mother Julia, who was quite fashionable. When presenting ourselves to the world, we need to at least have good hair, makeup, and dress. And mm-hmm, morning coffee together definitely took place straight out of bed ~ jammies, no makeup, no hair fuss.
How good, how liberating, did it feel just being that real, that authentic. Across the table we each saw someone we loved unconditionally, without limits or judgment.
Our conversations ranged from my dating perils to her caring for my father, to the new cake business her crazy friend Connie was trying to manage within her own jam-packed life, to what her friend Joanie and her family were up to, and everything in between.
Sometimes we talked all morning, in the middle of which Mama would insist that we have toast, and maybe an egg. Actually, it was always two eggs - they’re small, she would say. She was always the cook and I was always the guest. It was her joy and pleasure to take care of me, it was my joy and privilege to feel that lovingly cared for.
I’d read something years ago that I used to share with young moms, about the importance of homemade meals at the table with their families. Its essence was something like the daily habit of family dinner at the table together will ultimately make children feel safe enough to drop their masks, and open up from their hearts to their parents.
In my experience, this was true for coffee time with Mama. No mask. During that precious alone time together, there was never a need for any of that.
I knew I could tell her anything. While I did keep a few secrets to myself ;), it was like we created a sacred container to hold each other’s heart and all respective feelings, foibles, joys, confessions, hurts, wins and, losses. I always felt safe there and I think she did too.
To this day, I always so appreciate people with whom I can be that real and in turn, that vulnerable. For me, those connections are so precious, and I surely cherish them. It is who I most aspire to be in all of my relationships ~ someone with whom others feel entirely safe.
I dream of being with a man with whom I can start every morning together sharing coffee ~ in our jammies, bringing our most authentic and vulnerable selves to the table.
Without actually ever saying it, Mama wanted me to know that her daughter - that real girl - with all of her perfect imperfections - is the girl the world most wants to meet. It is entirely safe for me to be real, step out, and show up.
By the way, I rarely ever finished my cup of coffee at our kitchen table. I do not know why that was.
By now I know for sure, that it was never about the coffee anyway.