Coffee Breath

I was kissing awake my 5-year-old daughter the other morning, my heart filled with love for that sweet, sleepy, warm body.

From under the pillows, the most offended little voice said, “Your breath stinks.” And then, with utter disgust, “Gross.”

Z keeps it real.

I could feel myself flipping through the available emotions. I picked up “hurt.” I picked up “amused.” I picked up “distance.” They were all there, but they weren’t what I wanted out of that moment.

I picked up “thank you.” That’s what I wanted to feel: gratitude.

Z gave me her truth. Coffee plus toothpaste is gross. I was glad she told me, and she can work on her delivery as she gets older.

I’ve been thinking about  focusing on the emotions I want in my life. About focusing on the expansive emotions, and turning the volume down on the limiting ones.

Gratitude instead of hurt. Open instead of shy. Trusting instead of defensive.

I practiced with that coffee breath moment. Beginning, baby steps of mindfulness.

And I am now mindful of gargling with mouthwash before I kiss that 5-year-old child awake.