The first gift I ever bought my mom with my own money was a magnet with a coffee pot on it that said, “Is there life before coffee?”
Mornings have always been a struggle for me. Maybe it’s because no one in my family has ever been a morning person. My parents were chronically late to everything — a bad habit they’ve passed on to me. They drink coffee from the second their eyes pop open in the morning until 1 AM, when they’ll have their last cup to “settle down for bed.”
Believe it or not, they’re pretty high-strung.
While I’m not as much of a coffeeholic due to my heart condition and strangely high susceptibility to caffeine, I still find it hard to get going in the morning without at least a single cup.
The only problem with that is that I use a French press exclusively.
I don’t own a coffee pot.
I picked up my French press habit from my coffee snob ex-boyfriend. I remember making a conscious choice to keep using a French press. I hoped I could force myself to be more disciplined in getting out of bed early. If I didn’t get up early, I wouldn’t have time for coffee. Not only that, I’d have my own little built-in coffee ritual.
Coarse-grinding the beans. Boiling the water. Maybe meditate for a bit while it steeps. Then pour and do my next favorite thing to do in the morning: dawdle for a bit while drinking it and waking up — slowly.
I thought of it as an act of self-love I could build into my days.
But I also should have acknowledged one thing. That ain’t me. Trying to make myself do something so out of character was a bad idea. Not only did it backfire horribly, but usually, I ended up drinking the horrible Maxwell House coffee at the office that had already been boiling for two hours in a 40-year-old industrial coffee maker that no one had ever cleaned before.
My loving partner of seven years saw this.
He’s one of those mysterious morning people I’ll never understand.
He has no trouble getting out of bed and getting going. He’s never late. He’s more than punctual — he’s early to a fault sometimes. He’s so early that he’ll have to anxiously tap his toe while waiting for the “normal” early birds to arrive 15 minutes after he does. I think it’s due to his anxiety, so when we’re getting ready for something together, I try my best to hurry my ass up.
Of course, this was all pre-COVID. Once COVID hit, like many of us, I found myself unemployed and wondering why I should even bother getting out of bed at all. In addition to my genetic heart condition that would likely kill me if I contracted COVID, I also have crippling anxiety and depression that I manage with varying degrees of success without also trying to survive a pandemic. So mostly, I haven’t left the house in a year, and I’ve been pretty sad and freaked out about it.
A lot has changed in the last year, but there’s one thing that hasn’t.
When I’m lying in bed in that weird half-awake dreamland state, I’ll notice I’m alone in the bed. I’ll hear a bit of clinking and clanking coming from the kitchen on the other side of the wall. Then I’ll hear my electric coffee turn on. That’s when I smile to myself, knowing my morning-person boyfriend is preparing the perfect cup to bring to me in bed. Usually, I take my first sip before my feet even hit the floor.
Most coffee drinkers are probably wondering what my point is right about now. The first person up makes the first pot of coffee. Isn’t that just basic human decency, or at the very least, polite?
Well, that’s where the heartwarming part of this story comes in.
My boyfriend doesn’t drink coffee.
He even teases me a bit for my “addiction.” He does something every day for me — purely out of love — that doesn’t benefit him.
This little act of love moves me so much that I brag about it to people every chance I get.
One morning as I grinned sleepily, I said, “You don’t have to do this, you know. I can make my own coffee. I should make my own coffee.”
He replied, “I know. But I want to.”
I got emotional at the idea that my morning ritual of self-love had become his morning ritual of reflecting on how much he loves me while he performs a simple action to show me.
Some mornings when I hear the coffee jar open and I hear the clinking of the beans hitting the sides of the grinder, and then I hear the grinder come on, I start crying tears of joy before I’ve ever grabbed my phone to scroll it. Before I’m even conscious of anything else, I’m aware of my partner’s sweet and selfless love for me.
It’s a beautiful sound.