Mommy Likes her Milk Frothed

FROTH: bubbles formed in or on a liquid, foam

I’m a caffeine-addicted Seattleite.  Perhaps that was redundant.  Nevertheless, it’s true.

I am not sure if my dependence on caffeine is physiological or psychological.  I suspect the latter.

I first began drinking coffee regularly on my post-college backpacking trip through Europe.  Coffee, beer, cheese, bread and chocolate were my five food groups for two months.  My food pyramid is slightly different these days, but those items are still prominently featured.

Shortly after my hobo days, I was living in Colorado and working in a building with The Spaniard steaming milk for café con leche in the lobby.  I hit The Spaniard up every Wednesday morning before variance hearings.  With coffee in hand, I felt worldly, mature and just a little more equipped to enter the all-boys-club that was the Board of Adjustment.  When I coffee-cheated on The Spaniard, I would drive significantly out of my way to purchase a latte at Denver’s only “Seattle’s Best Coffee.”  During that phase of my life, coffee was a sentimental reminder of my days as a wanderer and my home in the northwest.

My return to Washington correlated with a sharp increase in my coffee consumption.  Coffee made for safe first dates and was essential to overriding my highly developed in-bed-by-nine habit to stay up late enough for the good music at the clubs.  I was young, social and caffeinated.

Husband furthered my addiction.  When I met him, he regularly consumed two lattes a day.  I increased my consumption, he decreased his.  We met in the middle at one latte a day for each of us.  Husband introduced me to the nuances of Seattle coffee shops and the wide range of characters and qualities.  He chaperoned me on my first visit to Bauhaus – a Seattle institution with a disproportionate concentration of black turtlenecks and hipsters – a place I wouldn’t have felt cool enough to enter on my own but came to see as “my” coffee shop.

When I began staying home with Son, I missed a lot of things about working.  I missed adult conversation.  I missed the freedom to use the bathroom on my own schedule.  And, I missed baristas.  Switching to one income meant fewer lattes and more home-brewed drip coffee.

I tried to make the best of it.  I made “poor man mochas” (hot chocolate mix and drip coffee) and put my coffee in special ceramic mugs from my favorite neighborhood potter.  But, it wasn’t the same.  I was irrationally jealous of Husband’s interactions with his regular barista – not because she was a skinny model but because she dished out the goods: steamed milk, espresso shots, foam art.

But, then my dear friend Hilary changed my life with a milk frother.  Easily the best gift I’ve ever received.  Life has not been the same.  That milk frother quickly became my new favorite thing and my go-to gift for new moms.

Frothed milk in my morning coffee eliminated marital resentment, improved my mood, and saved my sanity.  It was only a small bit of luxury, but in my stay-at-home-mommy world luxury was hard to come by.  Frothed milk reminded me of wandering days, first dates, and leisurely Saturdays.  Frothed milk does a soul good.

Now that I’m returning to work, I will not need my frother as desperately as I’ve needed it for the past six years.  It may find its way to the camping box.  But, it will always hold a special place in my heart.  It’s an old friend who saw me through early mornings, long days and mental fogginess.

So long milk frother.  Thank you for your service.


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