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There are times when I wonder why and how and when we, as a society, decided to get rid of rituals. Oh, I’m not taking about Masonic ceremonies or the like, but the small rituals that seem to bring comfort to the little dinosaur living in our hindbrain.

(This is where John rolls his eyes at me and reminds me we don’t actually have a dinosaur brain, and where I tell him that I like the metaphor and I’m using it.)

When I say rituals, though, I’m talking mostly about the tiny things that we do, over and over, and when they’re gone, we feel a subtle ache.

One of my favorite rituals is The Morning Coffee.

For those who haven’t had the … pleasure … of dealing with me in the morning, I am not a morning person. No way, no how. As far as I’m concerned, everything would be better if it started after noon.

John, on the other hand … he thinks morning are The Best Thing Ever. After all, it’s another day to Do Things!

I’m sure you can see where we might run into problems.

In any case, The Morning Coffee started early on our relationship.

We had gone to visit his parents in Virginia, and I swear, John comes by the morning perkiness naturally. Maybe it was in the water, I dunno, but oh God, there were all these morning people around, so at some point I cried “Uncle!!!” and went upstairs to grab a shower.

I was trying to jump start the brain, and mostly managing to stare at the wall, when I heard the door creak open. Somewhat startled, I peeked out from behind the curtain, and saw an arm, slowly as to not spill the coffee, slipping into the barely open door. The cup was placed on the counter with barely a noise, and then just as slowly as it had emerged into the steamy space, it withdrew and the door closed.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to observe the stealthy coffee delivery, and the only thing that would have been needed to make it a perfect addition to Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom would have been a voice over – “Let’s hope we don’t attract her notice, she is notably grumpy in the morning…”

I was secretly thrilled though. John knew I hadn’t had coffee, he knew I wasn’t really great at dealing with people before coffee, and he was trying to make my life better by doing something incredibly sweet without drawing a lot of notice to it.

I can’t remember what I said in thanks, but it evidently made an impression because The Morning Coffee has become a ritual I adore. Every morning, whenever we are together, John brings me a cup of coffee in bed.

He usually has it in hand when he wakes me up to say goodbye in the morning, and I take a sip or two, then kiss him. I fall right back asleep, and then, when I do finally drag myself out of bed, I nuke the coffee and get on with my day.

Many mornings, it sits on the bathroom counter for an hour or more, but he brings it. Every day, unless we discuss it beforehand and he makes a good case for why it might be impractical or whatever. I can only think of a few times it’s happened, one being this week, when he was up as out of the house at 0330, and thought the coffee would just get gross.

It’s a small thing, maybe, but he and I both love the intimacy of the small gesture, something that no one else has done for me, and something he’s never done for anyone else.

Our own special ritual, that connects us even when we’re both busy and don’t get to see each other as much as we like.

– Jen

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