When I was a little kid, my brothers and sisters and I knew that the best gifts for our Mom were the simple things...child-created artwork, hand-written lists of "Things About My Mom," coupons she could cash in for a vacuumed bedroom or washed windows...all Treasures, every one. I'm sure she still has each and every one saved to this day. Yup. Each and Every One.
Because there were eight of us and she couldn't NOT volunteer to be Daisy Scout Leader, CCD teacher, Room Mom, Team Mom, carpool driver, etc.; and because we always had a clean house, clean clothes, homework help, packed lunches, and home-cooked dinners, our mom was Busy. All. The. Time. In fact, just typing out that significantly incomplete list of things she did makes me feel like a giant heap of laziness. I'm pretty sure both my washer and dryer are full of clothes right now and I'm not doing a damn thing about it.
Anyway. So my mom didn't ask for much, but there was one thing that we all knew she craved: Hot Tea. And not just, straight-from-the-kettle hot, but burn-your-tongue hot. I have memories of myself as an older kid....12, 15 years old, maybe. I'd come home from school and start to make my snack. I'd open the door to pop something in the microwave and my mom's full mug of tea would be in there....now cold.
I didn't get it. I'd call to her, laughing, "Uh, Mom?! I found your tea! Want me to heat it back up for you?" I couldn't figure it out; if she loved her "hot tea" so much, why didn't she just drink it?
Silly little girl.
Mommies don't have time for hot things.
And now, here I am, Mommy of Three, craving my hot coffee from before I even swing my legs over the side of the bed. Some nights, the really bad nights, where two or all three of the kids require our attention at various points in the night...I find myself just wishing it would be morning. I'd happily forego my final few hours of potential sleep for the sure-thing that is that cup of coffee in the morning. And that first sip? Man, it's good.
But then Kid #1 is finished with his breakfast and needs syrup washed off of his hands. And mouth. And jammies. And floor. And Kid #2 would like some more orange juice, please, Mommy? Right now, Mommy? And Kid #3 has created a virtual minefield of smooshed bananas and soggy Cheerios around her high chair and is raising her arms and shrieking in the universal sign for All Done!
And backpacks need to be packed and diapers need to be changed and big boys need to be sent out to the bus stop and games need to be played and books need to be read. And suddenly, it's 8 am and you reach, at long last, for that cup of coffee. By now it's cold, so you bring it over to the microwave and heat it up.
But then it's time to distract the baby away from her brother's block tower and it's time to hustle that newly-potty-trained kiddo in to the bathroom and it's time to get the littles dressed, throw your hair into a pony-tail, pack snack and a change of clothes into the preschool bag, and change another diaper. Then hurry into shoes and coats and hats and gloves and carseats and it's off to preschool we go.
And then it's 9:00, you and the baby are home again, and you're eyeing that microwave. But now the baby needs to be nursed and the laundry needs folding and that block tower is toppled and strewn across the entire first floor of your house and, even though you tell yourself not to, that this is not *your* job, you clean it up anyway.
And then you start the microwave again, and this time, you wait for it. And, if you're lucky, you drink every last drop.
My mommy friends and I will sometimes convey how hectic a day has been by how many times that first cup of coffee was microwaved before it was finished. "Man, it was a three-times-in-the-microwave day today!" she'll say. "Sheesh!" I'll answer, "I was lucky today! I gulped it down while it was still hot! I was standing at the kitchen sink and unloading the dishwasher with the other hand and trying to ignore the brothers fighting over which episode of Doc McStuffins we'd watch while drinking it, but at least it was still hot!"
Remember those mornings when you'd pour yourself a cup of coffee, toast a bagel, and flip on the Today Show for a few minutes before you'd get yourself, and ONLY yourself, ready for work? I kind of do. And, sometimes, I miss those mornings. But mostly, I like the chaos of our morning routine and don't mind saving my Hot Coffee time for nap time. Which, by the way, I just finished. And it was delicious.
And it was still hot.