Today is Mom's birthday and she would not have wanted you to know.
Succumbing to pancreatic cancer in 2014, that was Mom, and she genuinely wanted to avoid instances where the focus was on her. Better to be intensely selfless, with the focus on YOU. 'What's happening in your life?' she would ask. 'How's work?' 'Tell me the good news!' 'What's bothering you?' 'What can I help with?' 'Where do I need to be?' 'Tell me about....' But Mom, it's YOUR birthday!
The memory of that type of banter makes me smile in and of itself.
This said, many of these types of conversations over the years - invariably over birthdays, or not - occurred over a cup of steaming black coffee that she would brew, or, if we were out at a restaurant or cafe, order for herself. Fairly insignificant and downright normal, right? Except for one caveat:
Mom did not like coffee.
Amazing, but true. She always explained that having never acquired the taste, she simply appreciated the aroma. And what that aroma signified. Less about the coffee and more about the accompanying conversations with friends and loved ones. Mom could whittle away literally hours in these deep conversations that she, through her litany of sincere interest in you, perpetuated.
And all the while, that steaming cup of beautiful black coffee resting between her hands would sit and cool, leaving intense laughter. Or tears. Always great stories. And connection. But most of all, love.
I appreciate coffee's aroma AND taste, but mostly, all of that love it will always signify.
Happy Birthday Mom.