Come November of this year I will be 40. FORTY. Say it. Forty years old. 40. That means I have been twenty, two times. This first 20 made sense. Those were my kid years. My crazy years. The second twenty was a blur. Those were the years I was suppose to be adulting. I’m just not sure I really got anywhere with that. It bothers me how much it bothers me, but I can’t seem to control the emotions. So here I am. On the brink of 40 and I am in a season where I am questioning everything. Even coffee.
Let me start by taking you back to 2008, which seems like a few years back, but realistically was almost a decade ago. I was in Nashville, at the Lifeway vacation bible school convention. (I’m not hardly as wild as some of you assume. Or I haven’t been since about 1999 anyway. Which in fact was almost TWO decades ago.) Anywho, we stayed at a nice hotel and my friends were all giddy about there being a Starbucks in the lobby. I’m happy too because I have to get me a good cup of joe every morning and this Starbucks gig really seemed to be taking off. My friends interpreted the menu and ordered my coffee for me, because they spoke the language. I’ll never forget my first sip. WOW. In that moment, so help me God, I sprouted 3 hairs right on my chest. My toes curled up in my shoes and my eyes rolled back in my head. It wasn’t good, but it was strong, so I sucked the whole thing down.
Whew. The rest of that day I didn’t learn one thing about vacation bible school. Not one. But I did grow so much closer to the Lord, because I spent the entire day sitting on the toilet in a bathroom stall, sweating and praying like I never prayed before. So….no more Starbucks for me after that. I stick with Dunkin Dounuts, Krispy Kreme, and my very favorite, good ole’ McDonald’s for my coffee.
So my Alyson has recently started this obsession for Starbucks. I say, “Honey, take it from me, that stuff will HURT YOU.” But she sees all these selfies with people delightfully sucking down these beautiful, frothy, drinks. They look so happy in the pictures and it shows off their perfect manicure as they hold their clear cup with the green straw. She has to experience it for herself. She says “I haven’t seen anyone who is holding a Starbucks cup in their hand that ain’t happy!” I secretly imagine maybe these people are actually happy about the colon cleansing they are about to receive, or maybe, they actually don’t drink the stuff, they just pretend to drink it and really just have their picture made with it. But alas, to argue with an eleven year old version of myself is pointless. She must experience it for herself. Hard lessons teach best. To Starbucks we go.
When we got in line, panic set in. I was in over my head and I knew it. I did not know the language. I listened closely to hipster dude in front of me order his coffee, and I try memorize some of his words. Beads of sweat begin to form above my lip and I wonder, is it my nerves, or, oh my God is this the beginnings of menopause?! That was my breaking point, but now it was my turn. What do I say?? What do I want?!? I try and think…W.W.A.M.D? (What would a millennial do?) And then it comes out…..
“I’ll have a tall, single, blonde, machi-frappe-chino-latee. Hold the glutens, please.”
The barista, and Alyson looked at me like I had lost my mind, because, let’s face it, I had. Then it occurs to me. Little Miss barista (who’s young enough to be my daughter) is going to ask me my name, and then try to write it on the side of my cup of whatever the heck I just ordered. I couldn’t do it. I was one “Sunday, Sunny, or Saudi” away from a complete nervous breakdown. “You know what, scratch that. I feel my lactoid intolerance coming on. I’ll have a cup of water.” Alyson whispers under her breath, “Mom, it is LACTOSE, and you don’t have an intolerance.” And I say “Don’t sass me little lady, and order your drink.” Then she says, “I’ll have THAT.” As she dramatically slings her arm and points to a big sign with a picture of something that looks delicious on it. Smart girl.
Her swirly whirly drink in her hand and my cup o’ water in mine, we made it back to the car, Thank God, and she is laughing hysterically and so am I. I watch her take a big suck from the green straw. She gags and coughs and her eyes roll back in her head and 3 hairs spurt from her chest. She said “Wow Momma you are absolutely right! This stuff is AWFUL!” Then she happily proceeds to take 42 selfies for Instagram and Snapchat. I just paid $7.00 for a photo opp.
Life is a real humdinger ain’t it? Some days, I feel smart and beautiful and I think, shoot, I really got my life together! Some days, I look for my phone while I’m talking on it, and I wonder how I even made it this far. I feel crappy and ugly and dumb. Everyone feels this way. It’s life. It has ups and downs. Hills and valleys. But I love how the Lord will send an amazing moment in the midst of a hard time and you realize, yes! It IS life! And it really is GOOD! I had that moment getting Starbucked. I love laughter, and I love how God knows that and He sends it my way every time.
Our next stop that day was McDonald’s. I drove straight up to the window, and with all the authority in the world I ordered….”I would like a large coffee with 8 creams and 8 sugars please!.” And with that, I drove home happy.