On the occasions Whit gets up with the kids (or, should I say, gets up with Jack, who wakes up before dawn every morning and then comes in and “cuddles” so aggressively that one quickly gives up on sleep and goes downstairs with him), my husband does a sweet thing and prepares my coffee, perfectly, and brings it to me. It’s a fabulous way to wake up. A rare treat? Perhaps. But a welcome one.
Whit is out of town for a l-o-o-o-ng time and I have been exhausted. When Jack was standing by my bed at 6:00 sharp this morning, I barely registered his presence. I assumed he’d hop into the bed and start bugging me to wake up and go with him to get a blanket/get cereal/find the remote control/watch Phineas and Ferb. It didn’t even pierce my tired consciousness that, instead, he left my room and went downstairs by himself.
Later, there was a tapping on my shoulder.
"Mommy? It’s me, Jack." (This is his standard greeting.)
Jack, proud: I made you coffee!
Me, waking up fast: You did what?
Jack: Well, Daddy’s not here, and you’re tired, and coffee wakes you up (I’ve never actually told him that, so the difference in my energy level must be drastic).
Me: But how did you do that?
Jack: Well, I poured it in the cup when the machine was done gurgling, and I spilled some but it didn’t burn me, and I put some of the sugar in it and some of the milk and I took a big spoon and stirred it up and walked up here very carefully.
He looked at me hopefully: Do you like it? Is it good? Is it like Daddy makes it?
Honestly, I could barely answer him. It’s been a hard couple of weeks, and this act of pure love, and pure kindness, was just about my undoing.
"It’s the best cup of coffee I ever had."
He high-fived me and ran downstairs, his good deed forgotten.
As I went through another stressful day, all I had to do was picture a seven-year-old boy carefully carrying hot coffee up the steps to his mom. Every time I pictured it, my heart melted, and the stress abated for that minute.
Is parenting hard? Yup. Thankless? Pretty much. Worth every second, just so you get to experience the heart-melting minutes? You’d better believe it.
Thanks, Jack. You may not know it, but you made my day today. And likely my tomorrow.