Beyond coffee

door in roomMy day begins with the squeak of a door and the bark of a dog.

Teenaged boys are not quiet by nature, but the squeak of the door is my fault entirely. I don’t oil it because it alerts me to people entering and leaving the house. And when you have teenaged boys, you want to know if someone is leaving or entering your home in the wee hours of the night.

The dog barks and heads downstairs, hoping she’ll get part of his breakfast.

I hear the shower turn on, the television come alive.

These are the moments I try not to let my worries come crowding in. I tell them not to disturb my peace. My sense that all is right with the world because both of my boys are home. Healthy. About to tackle a new day with new challenges.

In the corners of my mind creep the to-dos and screaming meanies. Call the garage door guy before winter comes. Call the handymen to replace the broken arbor, hang the large painting in the master bath. Am I spending enough time overseeing homework? Is the middle school transition going OK? Why has a good friend stopped being supportive? Is there something wrong? I can’t stand people who can’t tell you when something is wrong. Passive aggressive is for cowards. Will my work contract be renewed? How can I put what my financial advisor wants me to put in a retirement fund as I pay tuition and bills?


I don’t know if everyone awakes this way. Maybe being a single mother has something to do with it. You feel it’s on you. The screaming meanies know you’re an easy target. Well, they’ve got another thing coming.

As I drive carpool, pay bills, create marketing campaigns, tend to sick children, clear the clutter, I think about my many compadres around the world doing these same things.

Are they trying to cut carbs like I am? Ready to tackle a 10-year-old for his soft pretzel with cheese?

Are they worried about their job, their relationship, their kids?

Are they eagerly anticipating that weekend away?

Maybe they’ve not thought beyond that first cup of coffee.Coffee cup with abstract white steam

There’s an age-old battle for many of us, those who think beyond the coffee, of love versus fear. Do I awake grateful for my boys, my home and the myriad things that fill my day? Or do I awake fearful of what’s not done, not anticipated, not perfect?

Those of you an inch deep and a mile wide won’t understand this post. But those of you wired for high-def will feel a response immediately.

Choose the love, friends. Fight to see the love.

The fear is a dead-end. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s not always the epic battles that matter. Much of life is how you wake up. How you drive carpool. If you plan the vacation, however small, so memories can be made.

At least, that’s how it appears in my corner of the world.

I’m trying very hard to choose the love.





15 Comments Add yours

  1. I rarely wake thinking about my abundance. I’d like to say I do, but I wake to the clock, the lists, who’s awake and who should be. Does that mean the meanies are running my show?

    I imagine a time when I will take time, live in the moment, and know my blessings, but that time doesn’t seem to be now. Your post is lovely and I too love a squeaky door. There’s so much in this, Kay. I’m thinking no matter where we are on the gratitude scale, love is always a good idea. Fear is a nasty mess, but always right around the bend.

    Great post and I love the pictures. I don’t even drink coffee, but that picture is yummy.

  2. In my new post-marriage, just-mine (including the mortgage) home, I wake up to birdsong. And just hearing that makes me grateful for the richness of my life…and the love of my friends and family, and the fact that I have my “own” roof over my head. I choose the love too! Great post.

    1. candidkay says:

      Love this. Birdsong is such a sacred sound to wake up to . ..

  3. suemclaren24 says:

    Well said. Again. When you reach my age, when the kids are gone and the grandkids are grown, your thoughts will naturally shift. For me, it’s “what day is it?”, “what’s on the calendar today?”, and if I can remember those things when I wake up, I’m good to go. Whenever possible, with the focus on love. As for recipes – I share any and all. That’s part of spreading the love. A section in my book (Finding The Tiger) is devoted to family-approved recipes.

  4. drranjani says:

    There’s always something to worry about. For me, it is about my girls growing up, boys (!!!!), college tuition (how on earth????), my work (need to step up on that)…. But your post reinforced what I try to do each morning when I wake up – give thanks for all I have before attacking the to-do list.

  5. markbialczak says:

    You proved today to a lot of mothers and fathers that they are not alone even when they are alone. Yes, Kay, choose the love, because you can’t ever win the little battles or the big wars by choosing the fears. Right as the rain getting ready to change to snow as you remember to call the garage door guy.

  6. “It’s not always the epic battles that matter. Much of life is how you wake up.” FANTASTIC! I am trying as well 😉

    1. candidkay says:

      Nice to know I’m not alone . . . I think there is an army of us out there:).

  7. “I awake fearful of what’s not done, not anticipated, not perfect?” Yes, yes and yes!

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it crazy that we do that instead of focusing on the abundance of good?

  8. Lafemmeroar says:

    Wonderful post and yes you’ve made me think this morning before my first cup.

  9. I love this. Yes! The love!

  10. Hobbie DeHoy says:

    I wonder whether these thoughts are typical as children become teens. My youngest started middle school this fall, and it looks like you’ve got one that just started middle school too. I feel that the kind of support he needs to thrive in this bigger environment is different than what it used to be, and I’m still figuring that out. It’s hard to open your hand and let them fly away a bit, without wondering if you are offering enough support for a new life stage. And we know that’s going to continue to be an issue because we can see, more clearly than ever before, the high school transition and the college transition (gulp) coming along. On a different note, did you know there’s another variation of one of the expressions you used? The other version is “she’s got another think coming,” and it’s from Harper Lee’s one and only, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s in chapter 8, when Miss Maudie says, “That Stephanie’s been after my recipe for thirty years, and if she thinks I’ll give it to her just because I’m staying with her she’s got another think coming.” I can never read one expression without thinking of the other!

    1. candidkay says:

      One of my favorite books. And yes, I remember that line well. It always makes me smile:).I know a little Italian mother, the mother of a good friend, who feels the same way about her recipes. Guards them with her life!

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