She sees me coming. A small wave from her house window and a silent invitation to come on over for our morning coffee. An unsaid invitation to connect with someone who gets the joys and challenges of being a mother. A quick, small, and valued break from life and stress and my house messes has become the perfect way to start the morning. A neighbor who has become a dear friend.

Prior to this encounter, alarm clocks were ringing, breakfast was made, backpacks were packed, and shoes were missing. School mornings are rough. Motherhood is rough. The world around us feels like it’s getting more and more challenging. Every morning I exhaustedly get all three of my kids ready for school and the world of motherhood feels isolating.

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I pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning and hit the ground running. Coffee that I hope to drink, but it sits on my countertop. Taking a minute or two to drink the coffee could mean school snacks aren’t loaded into the backpack or water bottles aren’t filled for school. The kids and I head to the bus stop sometimes with more complaining, another 200 requests, and missing jackets.

One morning three years ago after the bus left, I boldly asked, “Can I come in for a cup of coffee?” to a friendly neighbor. I hardly knew her. All I knew was that her son was in my son’s class. She had a kind heart. She loved God. She hesitantly said, “Sure, but just to warn you, my house isn’t clean.” Instantly I knew I had found my newest mom friend.

My friend’s house is conveniently located next to the bus stop. Her school-aged kids wait at the bus stop with my kids while she watches from the window with her baby. I remind her kids to not run in the street. She texts me that my son’s backpack is in the yard while he loads the bus. The bus pulls away and I wave at my kids and hers.

I excitedly walk over to my friend’s house and let myself in. Her baby greets me with his basketball and eagerly waits for me to throw him the ball. Her kitchen cabinet is stocked with my favorite coffee, the coffee pods I bought while grocery shopping with her. She laughs that I can use her coffee, but that would cost her a couple hundred dollars a year if so.

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It feels like a safe place to sit and chat about our kids, fun school projects in the works, and the struggles we’ve had as moms. Our conversations are both deep and surface-level. We have deep conversations about how to lead our kids to God and also what the cheapest but comfiest leggings are available.

I never thought I’d find someone to do life with at the bus stop. I never thought I’d invite myself into someone’s house for coffee. I never thought I’d find a forever friend at the bus stop, but I did.

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Charissa Bates

Charissa is a Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor at the age of 33. She has three beautiful children and works part-time as a mental health therapist. Writing has become empowering and therapeutic. Standstill: A Young Mom Conquering Triple Negative Breast Cancer will be available on her "Cancerversary" on December 12, 2022. Two other children’s books will be coming soon: We Find Joy (Cancer Messed with the Wrong Family) & The Traveling Book. Charissa runs https://www.facebook.com/FindingJoyPress and Salt Shaker Ministries. Also operates Busy Moms Need Jesus (facebook.com/busymomsneedjesus) with her friend, Abbey.

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