Birthday Coffee

February 22, 2012

By Rebecca Ann Scott

I roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. I notice the yellow post-it note on my mirror with the single word, “coffee” scribbled across it. It triggers my fogged morning brain that today’s date is May 5th, my mother’s birthday.

A smile crosses my face, which is rare for me in the morning. My mother and I’s tradition is the source of my smile. On our birthdays we stop our busy lives for an hour (sometimes two) and focus on each other. Just the two of us having coffee and talking. It sounds so simple, but it has helped our relationship immensely.

My mother suggested we start this tradition several years ago, after the birth of my son who is now twelve. We have coffee from one of our favorite coffee houses, and for the past six years it has always been Baker’s Coffee House. They have the best coffee and breads in town.

I hear the kids wake up and start getting ready. The morning chaos begins to unfold at our house. All five of us are getting ready for our day, be it school or work. When I say chaos, I truly mean chaos. I have twin girls who are fifteen. That usually generates at least one argument about clothing, shoes, or something that the other has used and not returned to the other.
My husband smiles at me as he brings me my cup of morning Joe. “Thank you.” I reply.

“Are you going to Baker’s today?” He asks, pointing to the note on the mirror.

I nod and smile, “Yes, it’s Mom’s birthday today.”

“I know.” He replies. He remembers everyone’s birthday, and our anniversary better than I do.

“I’ll drop the kids off today. “ He says and he pats my arm. “Tell your mom hi from all of us.”

“Thanks.” I say, “I appreciate your help.”

After I finish getting ready I head to Baker’s, a smile on my face. I am planning all the things to tell my mom. She is going to be surprised to hear the twins have their learner’s permits now. They are good girls, but the thought of either of them behind the wheel of a vehicle is frightening.

I see Baker’s, it’s a coffee house in an old cozy, comfy house. It’s warm and welcoming on the inside. Stain glass windows, typical in old homes, shine with bright colors as the morning sun hits the panes. I turn the crystal door knob and wait patiently in line.

When it is my turn I order two large (I order large because we have so much to talk about) mocha lattes and two pieces of almond poppy seed bread. I smile at Brenda Baker, the owner of Baker’s Coffee House. Brenda knows my mother and I well. She knows of our tradition and thinks it is wonderful. She also knows we choose her coffee house over the many others in town. Brenda smiles at me and asks, “Is one of these for your mother?”

“Yes.” I tell her, “It’s her birthday today and we’re having our coffee Al Fresca today.”

“You’re a good daughter.” She tells me and she pats my hand reassuringly.

“Do you want whipped cream on your mochas?” She asks.

“Why not.” I say I think about my mother protesting the whipped cream. For about four years now, at her doctor’s recommendation, she has ordered her coffee black after years of ordering her coffee with extra cream. I remember the first time she ordered her coffee black and the surprise on my face.

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