You see, I want someday to show her the exercise from this story. I want one day very much to teach her this important lesson. Are you an egg, a carrot, or a coffee bean?
In my mind, Zoë walks through the door and, of course, is wondering what I am up to. I'm standing there in front of the stove wearing an apron that says something dorky, like best dad ever, or kiss the cook. But if you really know me, you already know I will burn the toast if you don't pay attention to it for me.
Anyway, I show her that I have three pots of cool water and each contains an egg, a carrot, and a coffee bean. As she looks in each pot and confirms that each are in their own pot, I turn on all three burners. After a while of talking to her about her day and making dorky jokes that only I could manage to create, the water starts to boil. We continue to talk and the conversation becomes serious. I tell her that life is not always going to be fair, that life is not always going to be easy. The difference between a good day and a bad day is our perspective. We are only as happy as we believe.
As the water continues to boil, I turn off the burner plates and ask her to examine the contents of each pot. As she looks in, I ask her again, are you an egg, a carrot, or a coffee bean?
The dialogue we had went from dorky jokes to a more serious tone. As I probe her mind, stimulate her brain to think about this exercise, I explain that when life gets tough, there are some people who get find themselves in "hot water" they react in various ways, like the egg who starts off soft and becomes hardened, or the carrot who is hard and becomes soft, or the coffee bean who changes the environment by changing the state of the water. The tasteless water becomes an aromatic beverage that appeals to billions of people around the world.
I am definitely an optimist. The glass isn't half empty and it is not 't half full either. The glass is twice as large as it needs to be.
Right now, life is tough. Laura and I are not only battling with cancer and but with our emotions every day. I believe that because of who we are, when Zoë grows older, I won't actually need to have this imagined conversation with her, because Laura and I are both coffee beans. Zoë will learn the lesson because that is how my family just is.