I love coffee dates. With my husband, with a friend, with myself. I don't really care. I am always jealous of people who get to spend any amount of time in hip coffee shops. It seems like such a luxury to sit and talk or write or read over a really great cup of coffee. You get to slow down.
Life with three kids doesn't create much space for coffee dates these days. Occasionally, I'll sneak out to meet a friend or we can get away to a favorite coffee shop together. But the days of endless lingering over a cup of Yirgacheffe are behind us for now.
Our favorite coffee shop is on a city block within walking distance to a tiny little playground with a dog park. On the coldest days when we just can't stand to be at home for one more minute, we bundle up and head to the coffee shop. Some days, we walk in quietly, holding hands and using our best inside voices. Other days, our arrival is louder. One kid runs ahead while Nathan and I try to stop them while we look up and another one has invited herself to sit with an unsuspecting customer. We are greeted with smiles from some and side eyed looks from others.
But sometimes, we take all three kids in and it's slow and wonderful. We read and laugh and tell stories. The kids split a cookie and we take up a big table. Once, Scout spilled her entire hot chocolate on a kind stranger sitting on the bench next to us. We all laughed and wiped off shoes and bags filled with steamed milk and chocolate. We leave an extra big tip for the patient baristas who make the hot chocolate at a slightly cooler temperature so they can be gulped by tiny mouths.
Sometimes, we bring our dog and take over the tiny patio crammed in to a narrow alley. We sip our drinks and tell jokes and play games. Sometimes, we walk over to the playground. But no matter where we end up, we always get there slowly.