It's a beautiful Saturday morning and Leo has just pounded down his "Horizons Organic Low-Fat Vanilla Milk" and is now standing in line with a shiny "gold card" to purchase another to help him in polishing off his three mini doughnuts when a thought occurs to me, we are raising the first generation of "Starbucks Babies." Leo has never known a world without a "Starbucks" on every other corner.
Our Starbucks adventures started pretty early in Leo's life. Trying to get Leo to sleep was a nightmare of epic proportions. We found that walking him in the stroller was the easiest way to "trick" him in to a nap. After he finally fell asleep we were stuck with the options of either carrying him in his stroller up to our third floor condo or parking it at the Starbucks around the corner for an hour and regrouping with a cub of java. The java always wins out.
As Leo got older we changed our focus and Starbucks became more of a way to get out of the house and spend time together. I remember the day the "hi-chair" arrived after we put in the request for one. To this day families still use that chair and Pascale and I smile at each other knowing it is there because of our former toddler.
Now we use Starbucks as a place to reconnect with each other and find our center. Our lives are more complicated and our schedules more hectic. Starbucks has become a place we can return to and shut out the rest of our world's distractions. We have developed relationships with the employees. People like Sheela, Janet, Dave, & Cole have become like friends of the family. When my younger brother moved to Chicago a few years back it was the store manager Kevin who offered him a job. A few weeks ago while in Paris we used Starbucks as our place to plan out our day and to regroup after a few long hauls walking the Parisian streets. It felt like being close to home even though we were 4000 miles away.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up I am sure you will be able to find us out on the patio enjoying the time we have with each other. Now if we could only get that "gold card" back from Leo…
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.