My wife and I are busy and caffeinated by nature. We’re both nurses by trade. But I’ve transitioned to working for a medical device company and she’s in school for her graduate degree. Due to our busy schedules we drank from our Keurig and Nespresso machines and opted for the convenience of them as they saved time into our daily routine. However, with the pandemic and lockdown in 2020, I transitioned to working from home and found myself with more time in the mornings to reconnect with my passion for specialty coffee.
Two years later we welcomed our son into the world and I managed any feedings and changings from midnight to 5am each day. When my wife would wake to breastfeed him, I would make my way downstairs and make our morning coffees utilizing one of the many tools I had collected throughout the years. One day I would use my French Press and on another my V60 or Chemex. Either method would produce two cups that took 5 minutes to prepare but would be enjoyed over the course of the early morning hour.
It was during this hour, over our first cup of coffee for the day, that we would enjoy the moments as a new family of three. We would talk about his birth and how things had happened that we didn’t expect and how we were going to heal from them. We would speak of our worries as first time parents and what it meant to be successful for our son. We would converse about the future and what it would mean when I returned to work or when she did, when and if she would ever really feel ready to go back.
I’ve returned to work, still from home, my wife still on leave but in school, but today marks my 82nd day I’ve had the opportunity to make us a cup of coffee. That’s 82 moments of just us three enjoying each other’s company over the course of however long it takes to drink one cup. The first 82 times in my life where I haven’t had to rush to be somewhere. I had no idea the art of the pourover and my love of specialty coffee could do so much.
A lot of things are still left uncertain. We don’t know how long I’ll stay remote. We don’t know when and if my wife will go back to work before she finishes school. We also don’t know where she’ll end up working once she finishes. As our son grows and as we add onto our family in the future, we ask ourselves if we’ll be able to continue or morning coffee time. Only time will tell.
Hard work, perseverance, and being the “provider” was engraved into me from a young age. My parents didn’t force me to work when I was young, but observing them as I grew up, it was abundantly clear that hard work was necessary in order to be successful in life.
Both my parents are nurses, both of them work in Critical Care, and care for the sickest of the sick in their respective hospitals. While my dad was the reason I became a nurse, my mother was the reason I became a Critical Care nurse and I would attribute most of my hard work and grit attitude to her. For 30 plus years, she would commute 1 hour each way through rush hour Los Angeles traffic to work her night shift. Despite my father and I appealing to her to work closer to home and get a day shift job, my mother continued her extensive commute until her retirement. There was a brief period of our lives where she worked two jobs, working three 12-hour shifts and two 10-hour shifts a week, all while having to shuffle me from school, home, and any extra curricular activities.
I approached my career and work ethic in the same way. I got my bachelors degree, worked a few years, and then went back for my masters. I took a job an hour away, 2 – 2.5 hours with traffic, with the mentality that as long as the job paid well enough to provide for my family, the commute was a necessary sacrifice. I viewed it as an opportunity that I couldn’t pass, and gladly accepted the typical 9-to-5, 40-hour work week, corporate position, and kept telling myself that this is what I had to do.
On my typical day I would wake at 3 am, with my wife still asleep, try to workout, take a shower, get dressed, pack my lunch, say goodbye to my wife without waking her, and head to work with hopes of being there by 6.30am at the latest. I would work my 8 hours with an hour lunch, and head home around 2 or 3pm in hopes to beat the rush hour traffic, but still available to work, if necessary, when I got home as our office day ends typically at 5 pm.
However, the pandemic, lockdown, and the birth of our son changed everything. My early morning workout was substituted with early morning bottle feeds and I found myself unintentionally slowing down because I had extra time saved from my commute and the moments in between meetings. My morning coffee with my family changed my priorities and viewpoint in life.
I found myself re-thinking about how I viewed my ability to provide for my family. I went from, the “hustle until you have to, work 40+ hours a week, and aim for the highest paying job” to “work enough to ensure you provide what you need and any extra is a plus”.
I don’t want to do that 1 hour commute anymore or sit at a desk in the confines of an office for 8 hours a day. Our morning routine has become irreplaceable and are now core memories of my adulthood and, hopefully, will be core memories in my son’s childhood.
My career and work ethic is now structured around ensuring I can spend as much time as possible with my family and working a job that doesn’t take anymore time away from them or that doesn’t take 40 hours a week while only giving 2 days during the weekends to recuperate.
My parents gave everything to provide me with every opportunity I could, and for that I am forever grateful. In order to honor them, I want to leverage those opportunities that have turned into my skill set, and do more while being as present as possible. I have come to enjoy and live for the slow start in my day and the art of the pourover has given me that.
It takes time to warm the water, weigh and grind the beans, and pour the first few grams for the bloom. I take the next 3 minutes to finish my pour and take in the aroma of this week’s freshly roasted selection all the while I can hear the movement of my wife and son upstairs. I make my way upstairs and, at times, find them asleep and gently wake her. Then we just be. Be present with each other and enjoy the moment.
How could this not be a priority in my life? I can only hope that this can continue for as long as possible, if not forever.
About the Author
You can follow Jonathan’s coffee routine on his instagram page, Bahay Cafe.