I’ve never been a huge fan of coffee. I drank maybe a cup a week at the most, but always loved the smell of it brewing and as a kid would steal drinks of my Mom’s cups when she wasn’t looking. Until I bought my own espresso machine. Granted, it’s not those high dollar fancy-shmancy ones that I would never be able to afford let alone have room on my counter for. But it makes espresso and has a foaming/frothing wand which I was completely stoked about. And then I had to actually make the foam…
I’m not one to give up easily and I don’t take kindly to defeat, so I have spent hours trying to make foam only for it to come out with scolding hot milk and giant bubbles that resemble dish soap. Then my husband steps up to the machine and makes this foam that is so fluffy and heavenly it looks like mile high meringue. To say that I was jealous of his milk frothing abilities, would be a huge understatement! I would look at the beautiful cup he so lovingly made for me with disdain and hearts in my eyes at the same time. It was a love/hate scenario.
What’s worse is when I asked HOW he made it so beautifully his answer was, “I don’t know, I just did it!” Not the answer I wanted to hear. It was so effortless for him to do and for me I would wind up with milk all over the counter top, my hand burning holding onto the mug and no foam in site. To make matters even more frustrating, I read the booklet on the espresso maker to see if it had any tips on making great foam and it’s advice was, “It’s an art form that takes practice.” A big fat middle finger in response to my desire to figure this out! I swore off making it myself and went back to drinking coffee once a week when my husband was home to froth the milk.
Today, I was feeling confident. The ballsy kind that typically ends in my total disappointment. I gave it a go and well the foam came out okay, that is to say there were no giant soap-like bubbles and burn marks on my skin, but it still wasn’t the result that I had hoped for. I sat down, begrudgingly drinking my tired cup of cappuccino that wanted so badly to be a real cappuccino but my efforts had failed it, again. With my ego thoroughly fractured, I decided that I would look up some videos and gain some instruction on what all I was doing wrong. I watched them all. The problem is with homemade videos of milk is, you can’t really see what it’s supposed to look like or not because of how bright the milk is in contrast, but I could hear the sounds that the steaming wand was supposed to be making and the angles and depth of the wand to the milk pitcher. I also realized that I was pretty much doing everything imaginable, wrong that I possibly could. So there’s that…
Thinking about it, it’s so much like life! We try our hand at a new job, role or task that maybe seems a bit above our realm and as soon as we fail, we give up totally. Maybe even harboring a tiny amount of jealousy or spite for the people who do the task we failed at, so effortlessly. As a mother, I have faced this feeling quite a bit. I have friends and family with their own kids and I watch how easy it is for them to throw amazing birthday parties or hand make awesome clothes and costumes, and just be those soccer mom/Martha Stewart types that I had always wanted to be. I completely love and admire them for it, but I can’t help but see the stark difference when here I am fighting with my three year old just to eat her food and keep clothes on! I couldn’t sew if my life depended on it and though I love hosting parties, I could never make a beautiful table scape fit for the glossy pages of a magazine if it killed me! I hate that the skillful Homemaker gene passed me up, especially since I am one. Being defeated at what you’ve chosen to do in life is I think part of what builds your character though. By now I should have character that could stretch around the moon and back!
I had no desire to drink another cup of coffee, nor to be so easily taken down by this tiny little machine again, but I had my mind set that I was going to conquer it. I stepped up to the machine, confronting it with blind determination that today it would not defeat me and I made my cup. I followed each step I had heard and watched on the videos and BAM! It was a light and fluffy cloud of milk foaminess! I took a picture and immediately sent it to my husband to show him that I am not actually a complete failure as I had originally thought!
As I drink this cup of gorgeous frothy goodness, I think about how many times I have personally allowed circumstances to get the best of me. How many times I’ve thrown in the towel because I was tired of giving so much of my best and it not being quite good enough. That maybe if I had set my mind to being victorious in the face of the obstacle no matter how big or small that I would have conquered it, but I gave up too soon to find out. Another lesson within the situation that will stick in my memory when the next task seems too big of a hill to climb!