The Mommy Spot

By Windy Lynn Harris

I grew up in the shade of tall evergreen trees in Seattle, Washington. Now I live in Phoenix, Arizona, where I see cactus covered hills outside my window. I used to have a grassy yard to mow; now I rake my gravel. Seattle had tree huggers driving hybrid cars; in Phoenix the SUVs rule the road. Seattle had flannel, Phoenix has bling. It’s Eddie Bauer vs. Louis Vuitton. And, of course, there is the difference in weather, but I noticed something during my morning commute that sets these two cities apart even more: The Mommy Spot.

When I drove my kids to school in our Seattle neighborhood, I could pass three coffee houses before I got to the campus drop-off line. A few times a week, I would treat myself to a warm delicious mocha after the kids were safely at school. These convenient and enticing little espresso shops were always bustling with moms just off “the line.” No matter which coffee house I chose, I would run into friends. It was a community gathering place where I always felt welcome. It was The Mommy Spot. I could grab a cup of coffee and chat before getting to the errands on my list.

Then, my husband and I moved our family to Phoenix. Here I have to drive out of my way to find a coffee house, but I pass three nail salons on my way to the school. It was an attitude adjustment for me.

“Why do I have to drive so far for my morning coffee,” I whined. And would it be fun if I went alone? I found a few coffee houses I liked, but they were too quiet. I brought a book with me once, but it didn’t feel right. Where were all the mommies?

I looked at my feet one morning while deciding whether or not to trek to the coffee shop. It was hard to keep my toes looking public-worthy when I was wearing flip-flops everyday. I figured it was a good time to check out one of those nails shops nearby. I stopped at the salon that looked the most inviting and walked my neglected feet right in.

What I found inside was amazing. I saw two women with kids on my son’s soccer team, I saw Mrs. Van Dermitt, my daughter’s favorite substitute teacher, and I saw the cashier from the grocery store that was really nice when I dropped that jar of pickles at her check stand. They all had kids at the same elementary school that I did. Aha, I thought! I knew the women were meeting around here somewhere. What took me so long to figure it out?

I thought back to my days in the Northwest. It was cold and rainy on most every weekday. No wonder we all snuggled up with our warm mochas and lattes. In Phoenix it’s just the opposite. Life here is directed by 350 days of warm sunshine.

“Hello,” I said to Mrs. Van Dermitt. “Good to see you,” I said to the grocery cashier.

I waved and got a warm response. A woman behind me leaned over and asked if I lived in the house on Peak View with the red door. I did. She smiled. She lives across the street from me. I laughed and joined the mommies.

Now I’m settled into my new community, and I have a life that is a blend of both my home cities. I’m a regular at my local nail salon, and I found a group of women who like to meet at a café once a week. I traded my raincoats for tank tops, but I keep an umbrella in my car just in case. I now drive an SUV, yet the Seattle girl in me feels guilty about it.

I really do miss the coffee culture of the Northwest, but I’m happy to be here in the sunshine of Phoenix. And my nails never looked better!

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