I can’t afford therapy, but thanks to my Friday morning coffee meetings I am relatively normal…okay so there are no obvious ticks or twitches or visible signs of serious disorders. Coffee with the gals has become the mainstay of my sanity over the last few months: something to look forward to; friends to laugh with; sounding boards for decisions; encouraging audiences as we glow over our children’s triumphs; fellow sufferers to commiserate over those ‘stages’ our offspring pass through and of course tissue providers when we cry some too.
We meet at a coffee shop run by a local church after dropping our teenagers at school, so, in my case at least, there is one day a week on which I don’t do the school run in my slippers. And since we are sans spawn, there is a degree of schadenfreude which prefaces the event from the get-go.
We are served by the genteel Oliver and ebullient Karla who simply bring our cappuccinos (large) straight to our table. It feels like those New York movies where we are known by name – not many regulars can brag about being on Facebook with their waitrons.
Only fellow maters of moody minors can appreciate the liberation our laughter brings, as we remind ourselves it’s NOT us. We are in fact the sane and rational madonnas we knew we were. Of course our children probably assume we spend all our time skindering about them (and we let them), but in fact we have rather eclectic conversations. Several of them.
It’s self-therapy through storytelling as we share confessions, decisions and fears. And we brag about our children (don’t tell them). Sometimes sick or bored progeny join us for breakfast and then feel duty bound to roll their eyes and smile patronisingly at the silliness of their elders. That’s okay because then we can tick off items on a parent’s daily duty list like a) embarrassed children and perhaps even b) grossed out said brood if we are truly on form.
There was one memorable morning that Michelle brought along her dad, who was visiting from up north. The poor man was treated to several sudden bouts of weeping as well as a little maniacal guffawing. He has never been back. Her mother on the other hand plunged right in. It’s clearly a chick thing.
I shall be teaching for six months again next semester and the horror is that I don’t get Fridays off. I may go into decline and require intensive treatment each holiday.
Never doubt the power of caffeine laced with friendship and prayer. We come away lighter, a little more confident, knowing we matter and are much loved. What a gift!