I was invited by my 17 year-old daughter for a coffee date to do school work.  Um…yes, please.

Grandma graciously agreed to watch the boys while we left to spend the next few hours at a nearby coffee cafe.  It’s not the typical cranked out coffee shop.  As soon as you walk in the door, you realize it’s a well-loved hang out.  The walls have received many obvious layers of paint, although it still looks nice.  (Maybe something I’d see in England at an old pub.)  The floor has been ripped up and left baring only black cement but somehow it works for this place.  The lights shine down from the ceiling casting shadows on the tables and people below.  The aroma of brewed espresso lingers in the air and temptingly whispers to me to order one.  Laptops glow against a few, scattered faces.  Hands write feverishly as they take notes or write an assignment.  Friends chat on a nearby couch while sipping on hot tea to ease the chill of the cool air seeping into the coffee shop through a cracked screen door.

I approach the counter and order our tea and cappuccino while Niki grabs one of the few remaining tables in the room.  I turn around to find her beckoning me to a chair next to her at a worn, round wooden table.  I’ve promised Niki for a couple of weeks that we’d sit down and fill out applications together.  I also agreed to read over her essay drafts and answer any questions she may have about the plethora of applications that becomes a senior’s life.  Interruptions around the house (we won’t name any brothers’ names) have superseded any earlier attempt of fulfilling this promise at home.

Essays and applications are by no means an ideal mother/daughter time for either of us but the chance for alone time together made even writing a pleasurable task for the two of us to do together.  Niki and I are very much alike…and very much different.  We have many of the same tastes but when it comes to socializing and writing – we couldn’t be more different.  Where I find writing soothing and therapeutic, she finds it torturous and a chore.  Where she finds a friend in every room she enters, I hope to be as invisible as possible.  As her pen casually leaves her fingertips and rests on the table, Niki thinks she’s being sneaky with me as I sip on my tea and listen to her share all her deepest hopes, dreams, and fears for her upcoming college years.  She has me right where she wants me – not asking her to continue on with her essay and attentively listening to her talk.  This is not an atypical conversation for us though.  I’ve been very blessed to have the relationship I have with my daughter.  With that said, it’s the first time in a long while where I’m knowingly being manipulated and enjoying every moment of it.  In the end, she did get her first draft completed on her essay and I got to listen to her as she shared her heart with me.   Bliss…