Troy Media – by Kelly McKenzie
“Mom, you awake?” I am now. Henry, my 16 year old son, hovers curiously in the bedroom doorway. A bleary eyed peak at the bedside clock reveals it’s just 7:00 AM. Damn. I’d hoped to sleep in later this Saturday to ward off a looming cold.
Unfortunately I feel quite punk. Must have coffee. As I turn back the duvet cover, Henry gives me the once over. “You look dreadful. Shall I make your coffee this morning?” Excuse me? This is a first.
As he bounds off to the kitchen I fall back on the pillows, hit with the inevitable conclusion. He won’t know how to make the coffee. He won’t know to grind the beans, or even where I keep them.
Look in the freezer
Sure enough my caffeine angel’s anticipated query arrives not two minutes later. I answer him with slow, measured words knowing I’ll have to repeat it all again. “The coffee . . . is . . . in . . . the . . . freezer.” There’s a muffled puff as the freezer door opens. “Mom I see pine nuts and basil leaves but no coffee!”
Okay. Keep it really simple. “Bag, coffee, main part freezer.” Silence, then: “Found it but how do I make the beans smaller?” Sorely tempted to just do it myself, his eager face stops me. How did he get so tall, my little man? When did that happen? “Henry, grinder, near the stove, fill with beans, hold lid down until lights come on.” “Got it.” Sure you do. I sink back staring blindly at the blue sky outside my window.
. . . Grrrrrrrr…grrrrr . . .” No, can’t be. It is. A miracle. The coffee grinder is chunking purposefully at it’s task without further consultation. Almost there. I wait, holding my breath, anticipating the imperative question. “How do you make it Mom?” Bingo.
I silently curse Mike, my brother who “kindly” bequeathed me an Italian number that is easily the world’s most complicated coffee maker. I had trouble learning the basics of it on my run-through demo by Mike; how on earth is Henry going to manage with sketchy instructions from a bedroom down the hall? I really must get up.
Divining my abortive attempt to stay in bed, Henry darts back in with an authoritative finger. “Get back in bed, Mother. I can do this.” Boy. I need that coffee and I need it now. Launching into boringly detailed instructions of “unscrew the top part, lift off the basket on bottom part. Fill bottom part with water up to the hole, but not over the hole . . .” I am fully expecting Henry to roll his eyes and chuck the entire game plan. I certainly would. My son shocks me with an actually focused face, a quick nod and a perky self-confident “sounds easy enough.”
Perhaps a bit of TV distraction will suffice. I turn on the news. Of course, a not newsworthy comment soon filters in. “Mom there’s no hole. You mean the line at the top?” Oh this is beyond painful. I really should be doing this. It’d be made by now. My patience gone, I snap. “Henry! Listen! The bottom part has the hole!” Damn it Mike.
Time slips by. Dragging my attention from the flickering screen, my ears perk up with the sounds of the unmistakable burble of percolating coffee. Its accompanying aroma wafts magically into the room.
A dreadful realization washes over me. I never told him how much coffee to use. I can expect either insipid dishwater or teeth jarring java jolt. Probably the latter. Oh lord. I won’t sleep for a week.
A mother’s job
“Here we go, Mama.” Henry stands before me proudly clutching the largest coffee cup in our entire household collection. It’s full to the brim. I have to drink all of that? I manage a wobbly smile, force back a shudder and take a tentative sip, expecting the worst.
One swallow and my world shifts. It’s delicious. I lift my grateful eyes to my son and feel a lump in my throat. Tears threaten. “Oh Mom, it’s just coffee.”
No it’s not just coffee. It’s the realization, the sudden clarity, that I’ve changed. When did my expectations of Henry get so low? It’s my job to instil in him the belief that he has the ability to do anything. How can he, if I don’t believe it? I blink back the tears, take another sip and silently vow to amend my expectations. To once again strive to be the mom he should expect me to be. Thank you Henry.
Kelly McKenzie delights in writing about the minutiae of everyday life. Widowed, mother of two active teenagers, she is awash with material.
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