Coffee makes me happy.

I have given it up for different reasons over the years: for lent, for pregnancy, to save calories, to save money, and the occasional personal challenge.

It is not just the coffee that I love, but the occasion of drinking coffee; the smell, the sounds, the events that surround the coffee. Studying for a test at the library, laughing with a friend, walking in the rain, exploring a new city, and volunteering are all memories that are tied together in my mind with coffee.

I love the culture and atmosphere of a coffee shop. When living in Australia I loved finding a Starbucks, because it brought me right back home. I enjoy the simplicity of a local shop and finding my place amongst them. The smells, the sounds, the chatter are all relaxing.

When Matilda was in the hospital, friends from far away comforted me with a cup of joe sent to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where I camped out 24/7. Slowly the nurses and doctors started encouraging me to go out and pick up my own coffee. At first I would venture to the shop inside the hospital. Later I was convinced to go the four blocks it took to get to Starbucks. It was just what I needed. A moment away. A moment to collect my thoughts. A moment of silence. Yes, the streets of NYC were quiet compared to the beeps, bustle, alarms, and procedures taking place in the PICU. The exersise, though not a lot, was revitalizing, even the air seemed refreshing. Seeing mothers with their children always warmed my heart. I was not resentful of them. More so, I wanted to reach out to them and ask for prayers. I would smile and nod hello.

There was one barista that was so nice and I was always happy to see his smiling face. Little by little, I think he picked up my story. He knew I was staying at the hospital. He saw my teary eyes. I stopped in there one day with Matilda after taking her to get her blood drawn, but before the Ronald McDonald House bus arrived. He was there and his smiles were as big as ever. From across the room he mouthed "Is that your girl?". I nodded my head yes. He responded, "She is beautiful", even though I had her covered up.

So I could give up coffee to save calories, or money, or to prove something to myself, but I won't. My perspective has changed. It is the small things I do for myself that influence a positive attitude and brighten even my cloudiest day.

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