“Un café con leche, por favor…”

17 Oct
Café con leche (Coffee with milk)

Café con leche (Credit: Wikipedia)

Like many parents, I’m silently watching my children grow. And I say ‘silently’ because I wanna witness the process in its fullest, without interfering or attempting to change its course.

My oldest child, and the only boy of the 3, just turned 8 years old. Even though my secret wishes still perceive him as ‘my baby’, he’s growing to be a clever and compassionate young person.

I remain discreet, though, and again, silent, watching from behind the scenes the growth and maturing processes unveil themselves right in front of my motherly eyes… Not an easy task, if one asked me!

Raising children is definitely challenging, as many here may relate. But it’s worth every single second of it – even the ‘over-dramatic’ and ‘not-so-fun’ ones, when as a parent, you don’t really know which direction to take in order to avoid some imminent collapse!

Oh, boy! And those ‘crashes’ do happen! All part of the [parenting] game, as my mother would always remind me about…

But now, back to my initial ‘café con leche‘, or in good Portuguese, ‘Café com Leite‘, as my Portuguese heritage would recommend me to mention! Coffee with milk – as a born and raised Brazilian, the typical beverage served during family gatherings, office reunions, work events… or simply, what I would share with my mother, as the oldest child [and only girl], while chatting about life, love, future. I would share my doubts and my complaints. I would blame the world and in-between sips of the warm drink, praise women for moving far into the society. I would judge my peers and lay out possible solutions for any current political crisis…

In Brazil, when one invites you for a coffee [“um cafezinho”], it’s never just about enjoying the beverage together: it’s about talking, sharing emotions and feelings, exchanging experiences and secrets… it’s about being part of somebody else’s life; the warmth brought by a cup of ‘café com leite’ is a peaceful experience, well known by all Brazilians. And this experience I cherished with my own mother, up to this day, when our ‘nomad family’ has the opportunity to go to Brazil and visit with the grandparents…

This past week, taking advantage of the [Fall] school break, our family went out on a short trip to the city of Tarija, famous for its wineries and warm climate. There’ll be more about this visit, but not today. This time, my focus will remain on our family nucleus, and more specifically, on the very special bond recently established between myself and my little boy…

During the inbound flight to Tarija, my son watched me accept [from the flight attendant] a cup of coffee and milk, perfectly brewed, according to the Latino standards. And he was curious why I always asked for coffee, whenever we were out. I told him it reminded me of the moments I shared with my family, and specifically, with my mother. For the Portuguese, a good cup of coffee and milk is the best remedy for the mind and the soul…

His little eyes were curious and confused – how could a drink be responsible for building memories? How could a beverage carry such a powerful feeling, and trigger emotions lost in time?

I didn’t know the answers. Who does? I just feel it, and I cherish the memories it brings me… ♥

During our flight back to La Paz, our family was split among three rows: I had our baby girl next to me, and the two oldest ones, in the row in front of us.

As expected, it came time for snacks and beverages. The flight attendants showed up pushing along the beverage cart. My son turns to me, and I see his smiley face from in-between the seats. His face is happy, and yet, a bit guilty.

I’m confused, but waiting to see what unveils. He winks at me, and at that point, I hear his heart telling me: I want to build memories, like what you have with “vovó” [grandma]…

The next thing I hear is his flawless Spanish to the flight attendant: “Un café con leche, por favor”. My boy is growing… and he wants to be his own person… The flight attendant gives me a look, checking if it was okay to give him the small styrofoam cup with an once of tinted milk. “It’s okay, I reply”. He takes it, and from between the plane seats, asks me: “Mom, do you wanna a sip from my coffee? It’s pretty good…”

He was right… it was pretty good… Again, emotions that only a nice cup of  “café con leche” is capable of bringing up… 😮




Posted by on October 17, 2013 in BOLIVIA, FAMILY, LOVE


Tags: , , , , , ,

12 responses to ““Un café con leche, por favor…”

  1. elPadawan

    October 24, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I think Proust and his Madeleines would have something to say about the association you have with coffee :).


  2. Inside the Mind of Isadora

    October 21, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Awww … so sweet. They do grow up very quickly. At times, we hardly notice. This special moment couldn’t help but be noticed. May you have many more café con leche moments with him.
    Isadora xo


  3. justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis

    October 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Reblogged this on justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis.


  4. Priscila Giusti

    October 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    love coffee, for many reasons: chat with work pals, a break from work, a nice afternoon snack with girlfriends… always good memories!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      Right, right… and now, my baby boy has that special bond with me! 😮 Beijos ao Edu! 😮


  5. Melissa van Herksen

    October 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    what an awesome post…i love you guys!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks, Meli… that’s my little [or not so little!] César… 😮 They grow up very fast… and I guess I’m not ready for that… you watch out for Luka… it’s a mix of pride [for doing a good job raising our boys], fear [yeap, one day they’ll grow up for good, and not need your advice], and this endless, painful love we nurture for them… crazy feelings, indeed! 😮 Take care, Raquel.


  6. babyjill7...Marilyn Griffin

    October 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    My favorite way to have coffee…maybe I’m building memories too…


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 17, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      I’m sure you are…:o
      It’s something about the warmth it provides… the sensations… who knows?


  7. colonialist

    October 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    With that sort of outlook, I think he can be trusted at those controls. Just tell him to concentrate when it comes to the landing … 🙂


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      I agree!! 😮
      Just have all that caffeine work its way out!
      The captain and flight attendants were kind enough to invite our children into the cabin… and this photo was taken earlier [not during our last week’s trip] – it was instead taken during an American carrier flight… quite unusual for our recent time! I remember we used to do that a lot, back when I was a kid… also, I guess the world was way different back them! 😮



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