Coffee Talk and the Morning Train

 
My daughter Lola and I love to coffee talk.

While her older sister and I make sporadic trips to the coffee shop for chit-chat every now and then, Lola and I enjoy our cups of Joe together much more frequently in the comfort of our own dining room.  Occasionally, the family room.

Of course, Lola is not drinking straight-up coffee. It’s an extreme caffè latte: a cup of cool milk with splashes of vanilla cream and a splash of coffee to darken it.

I drink the harder stuff: hot black coffee with a splash of that vanilla cream and milk.

We both use coffee mugs and we both clink them together and sip at the beverages, talking about whatever comes to mind.

As you can imagine, that can be anything.

During our coffee together over the weekend, it seemed more obvious to me that Lola is now much closer to the age and maturity of a four-year-old than two-year-old. In fact, those terrible twos seem so far away. And I can tell that the temperamental threes are winding down.

Don’t be fooled. We still have our moments.

My Lola is still fearless, spirited, impulsive, and daring in a way that regularly makes my heart stop.

But she’s also becoming much more articulate, patient, polite, and thoughtful, making these awesome thought connections and working things out through conversation.

As we sipped our coffee Sunday morning, she played with a train set left on the table, and talked about how I take the train in the mornings to my job. And that in the evenings, I come back with all the other parents after working all day in the city.

She peppered me with questions.

Do I like riding the train every day?
Do I see a lot of interesting things from the train windows?
Do I meet other people when I am on the train?

I missed this stage with my first girl.

I was deployed a few months before Miss C’s fourth birthday, and didn’t come home until just over a month later. I noticed all the changes right away upon my return: her voice, her vocabulary, her independence, her ability to comprehend and rationalize. She was still my Miss C, but the things that made her a toddler/preschooler were no longer there. All the things about her personality seemed older and more refined.

I’m glad I’m here to experience this with Lola now, this phase where the things that made her seem so babyish are shedding away as she becomes this awesome little person offering up some really awesome coffee talk.

I hope we’re still coffee talking for a long, long time.

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It’s my Air Force Reserve duty time.

I’m wrapping up the fiscal year with two weeks of annual tour, and of course, they have me working hard!

The past few days, I’ve been attending the Air Force Association’s annual conference, writing for the official Air Force website once again (www.af.mil) and tweeting about my experiences. Are you following me over there yet?