Get Away From It All With A Nice Glass Of Hot Coffee
I ease out of bed, careful to not jostle my 21 month old daughter sleeping next to me. I peer in the dark over the side of the bed before placing my foot down so as to not step on one of our large black dogs sprawled on the floor. The dial on our clock radio tells me I have about one hour until my toddler and husband will wake up. What draws me out of my slumber is not insomnia, but the lure of time to myself in our downstairs office and the promise of hot, freshly brewed coffee.
I walk gingerly past the creaky floorboards in the bedroom doorway and duck through Matilda's room, careful to not trip over the wooden sorting box, stray sandals, and plastic xylophone. I take a wide berth past her yellow talking car which has a sensor and will chime out a greeting if I get too close. No exclamations sally forth from the bedroom, so I continue my journey downstairs.
The stairs are tricky to maneuver because there are too many noisy patches to avoid. My strategy is to take them quickly, lumbering down 14 steps while carefully holding onto the railing. At 5:00 AM in the morning, I am not at my most nimble. I arrive in the kitchen somewhat discombobulated, and I put my hand out on the wall to steady myself. I take a deep breath, listening again for any sounds upstairs.
I'm now fairly certain I will have private time. My pace quickens over to the coffee pot and I snap the switch on. I turn my first light on, the one over the stove, so that I can make my way back around the kitchen table to the bathroom without tripping over any other toys. Before going to the bathroom, I go to the office and push in the buttons on our two computers, so they can warm up too. I hear their whir and see the reflection of their monitor lights flashing as I tinkle in the toilet. "Whew, I made it," I think and am pleased. The coffee pot sputters in the background, and I am pleased even more.
Part of the thrill of coffee-drinking this morning is sipping from a ceramic mug instead of a commuter cup with a strong plastic top. Baby books and medical personnel have warned my husband and I against drinking hot liquids near a young one, but I can't fathom giving up my coffee when I am operating so often from sleep deprivation. When our daughter arises, I will switch to the commuter cup.
One of the third or fourth things I thought after birth was, "Ahh, I can now have real coffee!" Make that seventh or eighth thing because giving birth for the first time was pretty dramatic. Little did I know how much I would need a good cup of coffee to get through those early months. Since I am nursing, I still have to monitor my caffeine intact, because some will bleed through into my breast milk. And we don't want a hyper child at bedtime. But the strict prohibition against caffeine lessens once the child is no longer in the womb.
I pad back into the kitchen, grab that ceramic mug and boldly interrupt the drip cycle of our coffee machine. I feel brave every time I do this. Other coffee machines at other times have made me pay for such intrusion by over spilling out of their filters and making a huge mess. I still am quick about this transaction so as to not tempt fate.
Another day begins...
When I pour, the aroma of the fresh hot coffee wafts into my nose. "Ummm," I moan and take in another strong draft.
Wallace Stevens wrote in "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird":
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections,
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
I wonder which to prefer: the smell of the coffee with the promise of more or the time after that first sip when the hot liquid spills down my throat.
I take my mug of coffee to the computer and my tummy begins to heat up. I am comforted and luxuriate in its warm bath. The house is quiet, only the sounds of the heater kicking in periodically and the rumble of the hard drives in front of me. Soon, like the whir of the computers starting up , my brain clicks on.
I look outside and it is still dark. But my day has begun.