Updated: Dec 5, 2022
This year I learned the importance of owning a coffee pot, whether or not one drinks coffee. It had not dawned on me that a good hostess should always offer coffee until I had friends stay at my house one weekend so that we could attend the So You Think You Can Dance show, and they were forced to leave my home each morning for their sunrise fix. I felt as though I had let them down. Until that weekend, I was unaware that a kitchen is incomplete without a coffee pot adorning the countertop. As I thought more about the situation, I realized life is like coffee, and our experiences and the people who walk in and out of our lives are the different flavors that make life interesting.
And so, I believe my daughter is the Cinnamon Swirl in my world. With a bit of spice, she keeps me spinning on my toes. Okay, a lot of spice sometimes. She is in 5th grade now and is ready for the transition to middle school. This year, she got her first round of braces off. Yes, that was just the beginning of our adventures to the orthodontist. She thinks mythology and anime rock, and I am convinced she was the cutest Pikachu ever on Halloween. Despite being one of the smallest in her class, she has gained a confidence that has allowed her to stand out as an individual of which I am very proud. She was named Student of the Week at school earlier this year, and she has no qualms about being called a "girl gamer" or "nerd". As a matter of fact, she chose her newest, very large, very black pair of glasses to emphasize the style that she embraces. She also joined the school choir and takes field trips to perform within the community. After a dance recital in June, she chose to quit gymnastics in order to focus more on her interest in dance, and this mom was secretly jumping for joy. She continues to be an avid reader, is now a member of an after school computer programming club, and serves as a Library Assistant. In addition, a week ago she had a small part on center stage in the 5th grade play, Snow Biz!. She keeps herself busy, and well, she kind of sounds a whole lot like someone I know...
My son is my Sugar Cookie. He is sweet, and he makes us laugh. However, there are times I wish I could add a little spice to him because life is not always fun and games as he seems to think. Teacher comments about dancing in line and turning in circles on the way to gym class are frequent. I do like to believe he finds the joy in 2nd grade, but instead he tells me school is "too easy" or "boring". Like his sister, he does excel in his classes, but school is not where he wants to be. If you ask him, he will tell you his best day so far was his birthday when I took off work and was able to spend the day with him on the school field trip to the zoo. It was pretty awesome. We learned at the end of last school year, when he was forced to be a pink pig - and I couldn't help but think of Animal Farm as I watched the dread on his face on that stage - that plays aren't even his thing at school. He likes recess, but he much prefers to be at home on the Xbox socializing with friends. He still looks up to his sister, and often coerces her to join in the virtual world of battling zombies and dragons, crafting weapons of magic, and building houses - after he tries to combat Mom over completing homework. The mere mention of pulling the plugs and sending him back to the Dark Ages ensures I am the undefeated ruler of this universe. On Halloween, though, he dressed as a character from the game Halo. His other life is baseball. He, too, quit gymnastics to focus on sports. He tried basketball this summer, but baseball is what he truly enjoys. This season he played for the Indians, and they made it all the way to the championships where they took home 1st place just a few weeks ago. At the end of the day, he is still my lovable boy who asks me to read a chapter in a book and sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" to him before bed.
As for me, I prefer to be the delightful treat on the side that's enjoyed with the coffee - like a chocolate pastry. That's right, I'm all about the food; it's probably why I don't own a coffee pot. But, as a mom and teacher, I do change each day to satisfy those around me. Sometimes I'm may embody the sour cream because I feel tired and run down with too much work to do, or I have to tell my kids things they don't want to hear like technology time is over for the day. But on the whole, I manage from the side, doing my best to keep things enjoyable in all of our lives. In April, my eardrum ruptured; I blame it on the taxes, which I happened to be working on at the time. It never healed, and I had surgery in June. I still struggle with hearing from my left ear, which makes me not only value the senses more, but it serves as a reminder of how quickly things in life can change. And there have definitely been some challenges and changes this year, personally and professionally. In June, I left my job at the high school where I had taught for five years. While there was a lot to love in the friends I made and the fantastic students who passed through my door, it was time to move in a different direction. I am now at a middle school, where I was once a student, teaching 8th graders. The lesson format is new, but the grading is definitely less, which allows more time to enjoy my family. I realized this year that I needed more of a social life, as well - time for me. And so, I have made an effort to go out more with friends. This has been very nice. I also made an effort to try dating again...and I met a really great guy. Even though we did not work out, he helped to remind me of things I've been missing - going out to movies, the theater, live music, and simply enjoying the company of someone special. He also took me to Dickens on the Strand in Galveston where I was not only briefly plucked from my comfort zone when I was asked up on stage at a magic show, but I stood in the presence of and got a photo with relatives of the Mr. Charles Dickens! I will always be grateful for that experience.
It's always good to notice the many amazing flavors others infuse into our lives through their presence and gifts, whether they are there for only a short time or the long haul.