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I adore the ritual of making a latte. Every morning I grind my beans into espresso, the soft whirring noise is soothing to my early morning nerves. I relish the act of tamping down the grounds into a perfect little espresso cake, and I crave the the smell of steamed milk.
The last part is my favorite, when I can wrap my hands around the warmth of the cup. I love the attention and time it takes to create. To make someone a latte is to give them a a liquid hug. It's to say I care about you and I want to make you something special.
My father would make me coffee when I would come to visit. He was much more a of a French Press kind of a guy, but I would watch him meticulously measure and grind the beans, boil the water, and time the brewing. I loved that he was taking such care and time to make it for me.
My father and I didn't have much in common in the way of hobbies but if anything we shared a love of coffee. I am an artsy free spirit who loves geek culture, video games and movies. My dad was sporty. He was a road bicyclist who competed in races, and when he got sick again for the 3rd time he traded 2 wheels for 4 on the race track. When I'd come over he liked to tell me about some Italian specialty brand he picked up, or a coffee place he tried while riding his bike. We would sit for a few minutes and enjoy each other and the coffee. It was his way of saying he loved me.
At Christmas time he and I would go out just the two of us to get my mom’s Christmas present. He had excellent taste in jewelry and just about everything, so it was a thinly veiled excuse for us to go have a coffee at Starbucks and catch up for a few minutes.
My dad passed away a while back, just a few days before Mother’s Day. I remember going there the night before he passed watching him sleep peacefully in hospice, a cup of terrible coffee in my hand. He passed away shortly after I had left. I chuckle a bit to myself now that it was such a shame our last cup of coffee together had to be luke-warm and day old. I think he would have found some humor in that.
A few days after the funeral my mom gave me my dad’s espresso machine. it was in great shape since he favored the French Press. I had no idea how to use it, but I was determined to figure it out. My parents were not the best at keeping manuals. My first latte was a bit watery, but not bad. There is definitely and art to being a Barista.
I'm proud to say now I wore his machine out and I'm currently on my second machine. It’s a little fancier and from Italy, I think my dad would have definitely approved.
I love when my friends come over now and I make them a "fancy Coffee." I have expanded my in-home coffee shop. I have a wonderful husband who buys me all kinds of syrup flavors and scours the Good Will for interesting French Press' and decanters. I have in-laws who bought me cups big enough to wash your feet in, and friends who visit and humor me by letting me make them latte after latte. They may go home completely wired, but they know they are completely loved. Just like I knew.