I was recently having a passing conversation with a neighbour. He was teasing me (in the friendliest possible way) about loving a coffee with a girlfriend. Seemingly the last few times I had seen him on my way somewhere, ‘Coffee with a girlfriend’ was that somewhere.
I felt embarrassed at first, slightly put out by his observation… and then I shrugged my shoulders and said ‘It’s what I do’… laughed a little and walked away.
And then I went to have coffee with my friend.
And then I thought about it some more.
And I was right. It is what I do.
In 2008 when we first moved to Edinburgh I was a new resident with small children, a working husband, and no friends. We were here for a few months with family and friends from home, but once they all left, we were on our own and it was hard.
I took steps to integrate and enrolled my eldest son in the local nursery.
One morning during pick up one of the other mums stuck her face in front of mine and asked me over for ‘a cup of tea’. Not coffee, obviously, however it meant the world. She was willing to get to know me, giving me a chance to connect with someone in a meaningful way.
She was the first person to invite me into her life, and it had such an impact, that I decided to be ‘that person’ for every new person to enter our school year. I made some lovely friends that way.
We started at the nursery in January, and I (once I had realised the school year started in August, and not in January like in Australia, and these kids had been in the nursery together for months) falsely assumed everyone already knew each other.
I was on a mission.
I was wrong of course.
But I was on a mission anyway, to get to know everyone.
One Monday morning after the drop off, I was walking past our local coffee shop, and two of the other mums were there. I boldly walked in and asked to join them, effectively gate crashing their coffee. Over subsequent weeks more people gatecrashed until it became ‘our’ Monday morning coffee.
Everyone was welcome.
Monday morning coffee has been a space to share joys and woes, to connect and vent, to feel loved and really part of something. We forged our friendships in that little cafe. Monday morning coffee remained a regular ‘thing’ for the next 8 years.
The last few years have been more sporadic as the kids left primary and went to different high schools. We got different jobs at different times and some of us moved away, however we still make an effort every now and then.
It’s not always Monday.
And not always coffee.
It is always friendship, connection and love.
These experiences have given so much meaning to ‘coffee with a friend’ for me.
It is what I do when I have news to share.
It’s what I do when I want to hear your news.
It’s what I do If I feel sad, depressed and need to talk.
It’s what I do when I need a distraction.
On occasion it is how I ask for help.
On occasion I go alone. I particularly like my own company, so going alone is more than OK with me.
I have dates with my husband in cafe’s.
I do business and run events in cafe’s.
And of course, It’s what I do for fun.
So, it is with shoulders shrugged, and no more embarrassment, I declare, Yes, I love a coffee with my friends.
It is what I do!