Monday, September 20, 2010


My grandfather Leonard was a crier. Just about anything could open the flood gates. He was sentimental I suppose, and a bit sad as well, he never quite get over losing my grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease in her 7o's. Every time he saw me, his eyes would well up. No matter where I was, or who I was with. As a teenager, I remember finding it somewhat embarrassing, but mostly I understood. I let him squeeze my hand, and I would never ask about the tears as he dabbed his eyes.

As it turns out, the apple does not fall far from the tree. It doesn't take much to turn me into a weepy, soggy mess. The perfect example? Why today!

What was today? Just another Monday. The morning was sunny and brisk. I dropped Evan and Zack off at preschool and headed down the block to Peet's Coffee & Tea. Just a quick caffeine stop before returning home for a busy day of work.

Standing in line waiting to order my medium, no-whip-2%-mocha, I notice a sign advertising that in celebration of autumn the Pumpkin Spice Latte was back. I look around the coffee shop and observe knit scarves, and through the windows, clear blue September sky, and leaves just starting to turn color. My eyes begin to sting. I am overwhelmed with nostalgia.

Last autumn I visited this Peet's regularly with my giggly 1.5 year old. I was a stay at home mommy. My sunny October mornings were spent exploring Berkeley, visiting playgrounds, setting up playgroups with new friends and just being mama. It was a much different life. Make no mistake about it, I am not glorifying it. I know that I struggled, I know that it was hard, and yet, standing at Peet's, I could not keep the tears from coming.

They come slowly at first and I pretend that I have something in my eye, but soon it is unavoidable, I am full on crying in a coffee shop. In some circumstances, this could be embarrassing, but this is the flagship Peet's in North Berkeley, frequented by aging hippies, panhandlers, musicians and intellectuals. My tears are hardly noteworthy. But I do eventually need to compose myself, for I have much to accomplish today , and little time for such emotion.

Throughout the day I think back to that moment in line. Do I really miss the days at home, am I simply mourning the passing of an era, or am I falling victim to the old cliche "the grass is always greener"? My guess is that it is a combination of all of the above.

No matter the reason, I am confident that my life will be filled with such sentimental outbursts, it is after all, in my blood. And I think that perhaps, there are worse things than feeling deeply.

It is clear Grandpa Leonard that I have your genes.

Miss you.




  1. I'm a total wreck myself. We'll come to something touching maybe in a movie, maybe not. It could be just something sentimental on Cake Boss, I swear, and my kids and husband will all look at me to see if I'm crying. Why don't they cry? Do they have hearts of stone? :)

    It's funny how a combination of smells, sights and memories can combine to bring back a time that brings on tears and it's not that you want it back, just that life is fleeting.

  2. I'm just one huge emotional mess too! I cry at the drop of a hat and often if someone drops a hat! My boys tend to watch me closely through movies and sad tv shows just to see which one can be the first to see me cry!