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School has started once again, and I take my cup of coffee in hand and reminisce while my teens head for the schoolbus. I reminisce because it hasn’t always been this way. I used to take my coffee in hand to bolster my resolve, and head into the dining room where my homeschoolers awaited my instruction in grammar, resisted my assignments in math, and sought to avoid history like the proverbial plague. Actually, homeschooling wasn’t always like that. I also remember all the times I savored a hot cup of Columbian or Yirgacheffe while cuddling on the couch with my current first-grader, helping him/her sound out words to the scent of South America, or leaning against the kitchen counter sniffing the fragrant steam of my second-cup-of-the-day before correcting the day’s’ schoolwork. I have 23 years worth of these accumulated homeschool moments under my belt, and sometimes coffee and school mornings take me on a sentimental journey.
But this fall, it’s not only my last two teens that are going back to school. It’s me. Pursuing a degree in Graphic Design, I wave goodbye to the kids and head to my own 8:00 class. Math book? Check. Backpack? Check. And of course, coffee in my to-go cup. One day in the mad dash to usher the crew off with lunch, permission slips, and musical instruments in hand, I forgot coffee, and I didn’t even notice until about twenty minutes into pre-algebra. Eyelids drooping, brain grinding between neutral and low gear, the longing for a fresh French-pressed cup of joe took center stage. Sometimes coffee is all that wards off slumber. So of course I made an emergency run between classes. No time for French press, thank you. I order an iced coffee and by the time I was sitting in English class, my brain had begun to function once more. It turns out that coffee is as necessary to school as my math book and pencil.
I have a half an hour between the end of my classes and the arrival of my teens, at which time I will morph into mother mode, dispense snacks and how-was-your-day questions, and figure out what to make for dinner. But the time before I hear their footsteps on the porch is mine. I drop my backpack in the corner and kick off my shoes. Check my emails. and breathe deep in this lull before my orbit intersects two other full-on worlds. And then I make coffee. Because sometimes coffee is the only fitting way to commemorate special moments in life.