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Sunday, November 28, 2010

My First Shot of Caffeine

I remember the first glass of coffee I had. I was about six or seven and it was the beginning of a drinking love affair I couldn't have imagined would span through my 20's and get me through my college years. My first coffee was with my with great grandmother, who well all call Mother. Now don't judge we're from Mississippi and giving a little one a little dose of coffee isn't the worst thing you can do.

I was always the little girl hanging around the grown folks table in the morning, peering over the chair, hoping to be included in someway. And, one day Mother said, "Baby you want you some coffee?" It was my chance to get in at the grown folks table, I didn't turn the moment away. I nodded with enthusiasm. And, she poured me some coffee, mixed it with a little powdered creamer, sugar and blended the drink together. I loved how the mixture of all the ingredients turned the black liquid into a light brown color. She sat the cup in front of me and pulled up a chair. I didn't know what to expect at first. I smelled it, put my finger in it. "Now don't play with it,"said Mother. After the coffee cooled to a manageable temperature I took my first taste. The strong, bitter caffeine mixed with the cream and sugar was unlike anything I ever had tasted.  A little strong at first, but I looked at my Mother and it felt good. It was our moment together. And, sometimes when I ever I smell Maxwell House or Folgers coffee I think about those simple moments. It was just me and her at the grown folks table drinking coffee and eating homemade buttermilk biscuits. I love her so much for giving me this time with her.

We had a few more coffee sessions like these but they weren't on a regular basis. And I went through  much of my adolescence not touching much of the stuff, except for the ocassional caramel machiato from Starbucks that became trendy to drink.

But, my true love for coffee developed in college, when I started a two cup a day habit to keep going. I was juggling 18 credits, three jobs, and somehow a love life. The coffee became  apart of my routine. It was coffee first thing in the morning. I'd drink it as I watched my morning news and got ready for the day. That first sip sending a small jolt through my system, the taste bitter and sweet.  Then I began recreational drinking, going to Starbucks, Panera, and Barnes and Nobles with a book and a hot cup of coffee, and an iPod plugged in my ears. To me this was pure relaxation. I developed a full on love affair with coffee. When I got my first production assistant job at NBC 12 for the morning show which meant getting into work at 4 a.m. the coffee became essential, a necessity.

So it's no surprise that when I decided to give up the black drink for a month it was more painful than I ever imagined. Week one lead to painful headaches, trouble sleeping, waking up feeling groggy and out it. I kept asking myself, why am I doing this ? And, there were so many times I felt like caving in and brewing a cup to take the edge off. But I stayed firm. Week two the headaches went away but I still felt so drained in the morning without that hot cup of Joe. Week three I decided to do something about it, I started drinking English Breakfast tea so at least I'd have some caffeine, bought a super cute mug, and decided to dig in and make it through this month

Seriously I've drank out of this every day...


Was I addicted to caffeine? By the way I also barred sodas, including my personal favorite Cherry Cola. Was my  body going through withdrawal? And if so do I need to reconsider how I drink coffee?

Week three I started doing early morning workouts, I've read it helps boost energy in the morning.  I admit it's helping. It's nice walking out of the gym at 7:00 a.m. knowing your daily workout is already done. But I still missed the coffee, smelling it in the break room, at Starbucks, just brought back so many strong memories of how comforting coffee was to me.

I'm on the end of this challenge. I just have two more days to go, and I plan to have my first cup of coffee on December2nd. I'm not sure what to expect, but I plan to make the moment special. I'm going to head to the bookstore, find a good magazine, an iPod playlist and tune the world away in a caffeine getaway. Wish me luck!

This coffee challenge has made me reevaluate my relationship with the drink... but I'm not sure I'll ever give it up completely.... especially when those moments reach all the way to the first time my grandmother, Mother shared a cup with me at the grown folks table... while the coffee can't bring me back to those moments... it's nice to pour a hot glass and remember her.