Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Excerpt from title essay - I Love You More Than Coffee
...I was really hoping, as I scrubbed syrup, hand soap, and one unknown substance off my daughter that she would not choose this moment to ask me if I liked her more than coffee. This stage of life is so intense. Other working parents of young children know what I mean. Stay-at-home moms and dads know what I mean, and my friends definitely know what I mean. I received a text message from Dawn just the other day: “I’ve wiped poop off two different butts this morning and neither was my own,” she said. “How is your day?!” I laughed and commiserated. This is my life right now. It is nothing like I envisioned. I pictured myself having picnics, going to the park, and braiding my daughter’s hair. But all of that seems like some fantastical scene from Mary Poppins and nothing like my actual life. When I have been especially grumpy and critical of my children, I feel a nagging guilt, and I try to do something to make up for it. But last Friday, I just joked that maybe my kids could go to the Mommy Store and find a mommy who doesn’t fuss so much. Evan looked at me and said, “No way. I would never want another mommy.” My eyes met his, and I could tell that he meant it. So, this year, I am going to try to be a little more enthusiastic about Mother’s Day. I need to say farewell, forever, to the mother I thought I would be, and learn to appreciate the mother I actually am. My children accept me in the same way I accept them, despite shortcomings. They know I have a temper. They know I can be impatient. They know I sometimes fail, yet they love me anyway. They call for me when they don’t feel well and other times, too, like when they are mad at their father. They are not perfect children, and I am not a perfect mom. But I love them something fierce, even more than coffee.
Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids...a little more. Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, Tidewater Family Magazine, Scary Mommy, and twenty-four volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She lives in Prince George and teaches world literature at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology.
WTB: What is the first book that made you cry?
Melissa Face: I can't remember the first book that made me cry, but I know the most recent one that did. My son and I read Where the Red Fern Grows early in the pandemic. It was too much for me; I've always been soft hearted when it comes to animals.
WTB: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Melissa Face: Writing almost always energizes me. I feel so much better on the days when I'm able to put pen to paper. I wish I were able to do that every day, but I also work full time as a high school English teacher.
WTB: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Melissa Face: My coworkers are published authors, so I get to be around talented writers (teachers and students) every day. Being around others who have goals and are well read is very inspiring and supportive. I am also an admin of a Facebook group called Bookish Road Trip. The four of us regularly toss around ideas and help each other with various steps of the publishing process
WTB: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Melissa Face: I still remember the first check I received for an article I wrote. It was for $30. Getting paid for my words was fabulous, but even better was knowing that people were reading what I wrote. I had a voice in a very noisy world.
WTB: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Melissa Face: Can I choose my daughter (she's 7) to be my spirit animal? She has a lot of experience; she pretended to be a cat for nearly three years. I know many adults who can't keep a job that long. She's pretty awesome. lol
Connect with Melissa Face
Facebook - @MelissaFaceWrites
Instagram - @melissafacewrites
Website - melissaface.com