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Coffee – Vacation in a Cup

How true is that?  Especially if you’re a mom.  As moms, we often live life at the end of our rope.  We give every part of ourselves to our husbands, kids, family, and friends.  We give, give, give and sometimes have very little sanity left for ourselves.  Its hard.  But we love it.  And along with that, we love any little vacation we can find.  Including the peace that comes with a hot cup of coffee while our kids play happily with their friends.

So there I was, thursday morning.  It had been a long week.  I was stressed about my to-do list.  I had an afternoon of baking ahead of me.  I was still exhausted from a big murder mystery party we had thrown the weekend before.  And the morning itself hadn’t gone well either.  Getting out of the house on time for preschool can be quite the challenge with a 2 year old and 4 year old.  Everyone was whining.  Everyone was cranky.  Everyone was moving like molasses.  That morning, my kids decided that getting shoes and coats and hats on was just too hard.  So they sat there with careless faces while I did every step for them and physically drug them to the car.

I eventually got Nathan to school after taking a few wrong turns simply because my brain was completely fried.  I was at the end of my rope.  Ready to yell at both of them, but full well knowing that none of it was their fault.  I mean come on… it’s the end of January in Ohio.  I didn’t want to go out into the cold snow either!  If only someone would have put my shoes and coat on and carried ME to the car!  So I resisted letting out my frustration and considered it a success that we even made it to school on time.

Then I saw my opportunity for a vacation.  A cup of coffee at the mall while letting my youngest, Noah, play his heart out in the play area.  Summit Mall has been my favorite go-to vacation for nearly four years.  Especially in the dead of winter, there have been times where I’ve taken my kids to play at the mall 3 or 4 times a week.  When you can’t go to the zoo or the park, you have got to go somewhere to get the cabin fever out, right?  And if the kids can have fun playing while I enjoy my Starbucks… well, then it’s just pure heaven on earth.  Can I get an “Amen,” fellow mommas?

So there I sit.  The stress is fading.  My sanity is returning.  I can’t help but smile while holding my piping hot cup of Starbucks while watching the joy on Noah’s face as he runs and jumps and plays.  It’s his favorite place too.  Life is perfect.  My tank is filling up and I’m beginning to feel refueled for the rest of my week being super-mom and baking queen.

Then it happens.

The mall manager comes and takes a seat beside me.  “Did I leave my car lights on?,” I think to myself?  “Did I drop something he needs to return to me?”  I mean, really… what could he possibly want?  Maybe he’s noticed that I practically live here and wants to thank me for my loyalty.  Yeah.  No.  Quite the opposite.

In reality, he sat down to inform me that there is a rule that you may not have any food or drinks in the play area and that it includes coffee.  Yes, I always knew that there was a no food and beverage rule.  But I also always assumed that there was an unwritten rule that moms and their coffees were the one exception.  Coffee and moms… they’re a universal thing.  Everyone knows that they go together.  They’re like two peas in a pod!

He then goes on to inform me that he was in fact, that morning, cleaning up a spill (points across the way) that he himself had knelt in while putting up the new “No food or drink” signs.  And we wouldn’t want kids to get dirty socks because people spill their coffee, would we?  In all kindness, he said he’d allow me to keep my coffee for that day, but that if I could please not bring it in anymore, that would be great.

I nodded.  I didn’t smile.  I was polite.  But inside… I crashed.  He got up, walked away… and I cried.  Yes.  It’s true.  I cried over spilled coffee.

Why did I cry?  Because this was my safe place.  My take a break place.  Not to mention… a place where my kids could have a blast and burn some energy in the middle of an Ohio winter.

Whoever spilled that coffee and ruined this for me… well, I forgive you.  Because quite honestly, I believe this is a dumb rule.  And that’s the real purpose of this blog.  I’ve never really considered myself an activist and maybe this is a bizarre cause to get started on, but really… I need my coffee and the mall play place!  And I know I’m not alone.  As I’ve mentioned this to my mom friends over the past few days, every one of them has responded with a gasp.   Say it ain’t so!

So tell me, Summit Mall… isn’t it worth a few cups of spilled coffee for you to be the place in Fairlawn that moms think to go to catch a break?  And if your janitorial staff just isn’t up for the challenge… could you not put a few tables right along the edge of the play area so that moms could sit right on the other side of the wall and watch their kids from there?  You can keep your no food rule.  That one I get.  Especially when I consider the moms that I’ve seen there feeding their kids a full meal while they run around and drop crumbs everywhere.  But little old me holding a coffee in the corner?  Come on.

On the other hand, I could just start asking Starbucks to put my coffee in a sippy cup or bottle since those are still allowed in the play area.  You know what they say… desperate times call for desperate measures!