Eat Your Breakfast
Submitted by admin on Sat, 04/20/2013 – 12:40
Let’s get one thing out of the way. I love breakfast. When you are a morning person, few pleasures top breakfast fare, simple and perfect. The chance to be unhurried during my most optimistic time is a real treat (for me anyway, my chipper chatter might overwhelm a quiet night-person hubby at times, but he listens anyway). The M-F grind doesn’t afford this sit-down luxury, but on weekdays we still grab something healthy in the a.m.
This habit started in childhood. My mom cooked Sunday pot roasts but Dad was the morning person and he attended to this detail while she adjusted to the idea of a new day. He saw to it that I didn’t leave without something nutritious in my belly. It might only be blended juice and a protein scoop or an egg sandwich to go, but it was always something.
I’ve been thinking about how we rarely say thanks for how people PREVENT life from going wrong. Like how at work this week someone deescalated a conflict that was spiraling toward a formal grievance. Instead, good listening skills and mediation up front sidestepped a massive headache. I think of breakfast like this.
There is a heap of evidence for the morning meal. When kids eat something healthy and filling, they can pay attention, play, and develop normally. It helps prevent obesity and a lifetime of bad eating habits.
I will never know what my life might have been without this daily boost, but I do know I have been blessed with good health, an appetite for wholesome food, and was an eager student. What if I had rushed out the door with only a can of Coke? What if one thankless act done each day out of love and consistency, was the tipping point for me? What if it made a difference I can never quantify?
There was a relationship benefit too. We often talked for a few minutes before school. On weekends we had raucous family sit-downs over piled-high hot cakes and eggs. The sound of dad signing his heart out wafted with bacon aromas into our rooms. We came without being called. Okay, that might be nostalgia taking over because they probably had to still drag teenagers out, but you get my fondness for these memories.
I am grateful for more than just breakfast. My generation might have been the last to know mealtime as an institution. It seems quaint in a ballet-practice-volunteer-board-Taekwondo-frenzied America, but Milan and I have made this commitment. We eat dinner together—at the dining room table or a restaurant—every single night. If I have a work event or he’s in school, we wait for the nightly ritual. We do not eat alone and microwave meals later, ever.
I have found it hard to explain that I won’t be available at mealtime. People look at me funny when I say, “We eat at around six so I need to be home then.” I no longer do community boards that have dinner meetings and people seem puzzled by my excuse that we eat as a family. Like, “don’t you have our own life?” Actually I have stopped explaining. I just decline commitments that chew up this part of my life.
I can’t expect people to understand that this is our very best time. My shy spouse opens up and tells me about his day. He listens to mine. Sometimes we don’t converse at all but just enjoy the food and each other’s company. This is what we do. On weekends with the girls, they know to be ready at dinnertime, no argument needed. When our child is born, we will continue this tradition even as we adjust to a baby-centered routine. I know life gets busy and teenagers scatter, but I think—I hope like everything—that in our house, we will provide breakfast and eat dinner as a family.
We will make many mistakes, but maybe this is one thing we can do. And maybe it will make a difference. It’s the least I can do to thank a mom and dad who gave this for me.