One night a few weeks ago, my sweet huz, Bobby, took a deep breath, looked me in the eye, and after 21 years of marriage, proclaimed the unthinkable: “I think it’s time for me to give up… coffee.” Gulp. I looked at him as if he’d just sprouted a horn on his nose. I knew I must have misunderstood him. After all, this was the man who faithfully made a full pot o’ java every morning for us to share. Give up coffee? Why not give up showering too? And breathing?
On the verge of hyperventilating, I simply whispered, “What?!” He then explained, in a frustratingly calm voice, that he didn’t like being so hooked on coffee in the mornings. It messed with his empty stomach, and the caffeine crash was tough to handle at work. My thoughtful follow-up response? “Whaaaaaat!?!?!?!?!?” Then he asked me to get him a few boxes of Tazo Earl Grey Tea at the store.
This actually hurt my feelings. He wasn’t trying to bring me down and crush my spirit, but sharing coffee has been our thing, especially in the last year when we’ve clearly become outnumbered by younger ones in our house. After certain nights when we felt like we were awake more than asleep, we have stood, blurry-eyed at the coffee pot, shoulder to shoulder, watching the coffee perk. A watched pot doesn’t boil? Whatever. Our watched coffeemaker does a beautiful job of making coffee. It’s a sight to behold, and this unexpected announcement, well, it kind of felt like my partner-in-caffeine-addiction was breaking up with me.
The next morning, I made my own pot of coffee for the first time in a very long while. Bobby had offered to make me a pot, but on no! I insisted on forging my own path down the solo java lane. The coffee exploded all over the kitchen. I knew it was a sign, but of what? Was it a sign to join Bobby and become a tea-drinking duo, or a sign to persevere even when it suddenly seemed that my corner of the universe was suddenly anti-cup-o’-joe? I chose the latter, spooned most of the grinds out of the pot, poured in plenty of my pumpkin cream dream, and guzzled a cup of very sweet and slightly crunchy coffee. Later, I bought two boxes of Bobby’s tea for him. I brought along my large carafe of super-strong java to sip as I shopped, just to make a point. I’m not sure to whom I was trying to make said point, but I sure felt strongly about it.
As the day unfolded, I could tell it was going to be a tricky one. A few phone calls from school, and I could sense the storm brewing. When Bobby arrived home from work, I warned him about the pending stress. Then I asked him if he’d really been java-free. He smiled and said he’d had tea in the morning. And in the afternoon? Just one Mountain Dew. Mountain DEW! My jaw dropped, and then I quickly spouted off all of the evil ingredients in that soda, verses the antioxidants and general beauty of coffee. Bobby simply said, “Beth, it’s not a big deal. I will still make you coffee each morning. I’m just not going to join you.” Pierce my heart, Bobster… pierce my heart.
As I predicted, the night was rough, and Bobby and I stayed up late problem solving together. My hurt feelings over java eased as I was reminded of what a kick-arse team Bobby and I make when it comes to getting through these storms. I cried, I prayed, Bobby searched the web, he patted my back, and slowly we came up with our new to-do list. We fell into bed, exhausted, still troubled, but with a plan for next steps.
Bobby hardly slept that night. Neither did I. The next morning, I heard the melodious sound of our coffee grinder, sighed and smiled at the thought of my tea-drinking Huz still making coffee for his bride. As it turns out, even amidst our family stress, my world returned to balance as I heard these beautiful words escape Bobby’s lips: “I’m back on coffee… for now.” I simply smiled, patted his shoulder, and said, “Welcome back to the dark roast side, Huz… welcome back.”
Postscript: I wanted to make sure Bobby was okay with my sharing his momentary lapse in java-judgment as a post, and so I had him read it. His response? Smiling, he said, “I knew this was coming. It’s fine, but isn’t this your first post without a spiritual component?” Good point, Huz. I looked for scripture regarding Jesus drinking java, thought about re-interpreting Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine, and avoided all passages regarding moderation. God has simply given us coffee, people. My mug runneth over with gratitude to Him, for java, yes, but even more so for my coffee-making Huz. Cheers.