Our mornings were early and cold when we lived at the Harbor. I'd stir awake around 4 or 4:30 and try to catch the foggy memories of dreams, and when they slipped away completely, I'd pull the small curtain back to watch the black sky turn pink over the tall skinny palm trees.
I would climb out of bed and wake the kids at 5:45 and make sure they were actually out of their bunks and getting dressed by 6, since we had to leave by 6:10 in order to get to the train station. The Sprinter left at 6:23, but could (and sometimes did) leave sooner.
Some days, the temperatures were in the low forties. I would make sure the kids wore gloves and jackets, at least. They weren't interested in scarves or beanies. Watching them get on the train to take their hour and fifteen minute trip to school, I always had mixed emotions. I wished they had an easier life, and at the same time, I was thankful that they would learn resiliency.
On some of those mornings, I needed to remember that this wasn't always going to be the way. I needed to hang on to some indulgences from before... things that I enjoyed before our "adventure". One of those treats was to visit my favorite French bakery. I had to wait around in the parking lot until they opened at 7:00, and then I would go in for an Americano and maybe an All Day Bun. There's a table in the corner by the window that looks out onto Coast Highway. It's the perfect spot to let the sun stream in to warm your spirits. I would sit there and read, write, or just think.
I wanted to write about the bakery for so long, but I hadn't. Maybe I was hoping it would stay a secret so that the little table in the corner by the window would always be open. But as with all wonderful places in the world, it didn't stay unknown very long at all. Last week, I finally had the pleasure of writing about Petite Madeline Bakery and Patisserie in Oceanside. When I came back in to do a live video tour of the kitchen, I was greeted by the owner, Chef Christine. She was so kind and complimentary about my article.
I almost cried.
I wanted so much to tell her how much her little place meant to me and how, in those dark months, it was a tiny generosity I would lavish on myself. But I thought that conversation could wait.
If you ever get around to driving down the coast and land in Oceanside, make sure to stop in at Petite Madeline. Grab a cup of coffee and an All Day Bun and watch the sun stream in with all the people.