02 December 2008

a breakfast story

In the quiet and darkness of this morning, I peeled back my sheets, got dressed, folded a load of laundry and went to the gym. Nearly eight hours ago, my day humbly began – with silence. With laundry.

“How was your workout?” Paul asked with a kiss, as I returned home to find that the darkness and stillness from earlier this morning had faded into the hustle and bustle of mid-morning pre-preschool. He, still in his jammies, and my cutely-dressed kiddos were on their way upstairs to brush hair and teeth.

“It was good, REALLY good. I’ll make breakfast.”

With a growling stomach, I hung up my jacket and headed for the kitchen.

FRIDGE: Two packed lunches, four-and-a-half bottles of milk (thank you Longmont Dairy Farm), four eggs, a little block of cheese, one slice of bread, two mandarins, homemade cranberry sauce, leftover Thanksgiving gravy (into the sink you go), orange juice, assorted vegetables and condiments, lots of condiments.

PANTRY: cereal… gone; tomato sauce, mushroom soup, olives, artichoke hearts, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta and a king-sized bag of rolled oats.

Money’s been tight. Pickins are slim. Oatmeal it is.

“Momma, I’m hungry.” Cole said as he appeared from nowhere.

Upstairs I heard running water and the thud of the shower door. “Cole, will you run upstairs and ask dada if he would like breakfast?” He went.

OK, breakfast. Here we go…

Piping hot oatmeal - sprinkled with cinnamon and a dash of salt - soaked in dairy-fresh milk and topped with fresh mandarin-cranberry sauce and oven-toasted walnuts. On the side, an egg, hard-boiled and sliced to perfection, coupled with a tall glass of orange juice, straight from the dairy farm bottle… Beautiful.

Pleased and proud, I summoned my kids to the table, placed the masterpieces upon it and then turned on my heels back toward the kitchen.


I turned back to discover my children now sitting at the table: Maya, ruddy-faced with welling eyes, and a dumbfounded Cole staring into his plastic bowl. No, this wasn’t mom-you-are-amazing speechlessness. And no, these weren’t tears of profound joy and thanks. Rather, this was “what-about-our-vitamins” silence and “I-don’t-like-nuts-in-my-oatmeal” tears.


After a swift scolding, my children chimed in unison, “Thank you for breakfast momma.”

Right. It was hard to hear past the crescendo of my rapidly boiling blood and grumbling belly.

“It’s not a big deal,” I silently quelled myself, and returned to the kitchen to gladly and selflessly prepare breakfast for my husband.

TAKE TWO: Piping hot oatmeal - dusted with cinnamon and a dash of salt - soaked in dairy-fresh milk, delicately drizzled with agave nectar, and lovingly topped with fresh mandarin-cranberry sauce and oven-toasted walnuts. On the side: a hard-boiled egg sparingly seasoned with sea salt and coupled with a tall glass of ice-cold orange juice, straight from the dairy farm bottle. Yes, that does it. Now, perfection.

In walks a freshly showered, shaved and sweet smelling Paul toward the table.

“What’s this?” he asked with a contorted face, as if on cue.

“It’s oatmeal,” I responded.

“Yes, but what’s on top of it,” he continued.

“Cranberry sauce,” I replied matter-of-factly, with my back now to him.

“Do you mind if I take it off. I don’t like cranberries,” he explained.

Beside myself, I push the door of the microwave closed (a little harder than necessary) and forcefully cleared the remnants of my handiwork into the sink.

“You guys are AWESOME.” I sardonically mumble.

We exchanged a few more words, before I left the kitchen and headed for the shower. “Thank you for breakfast,” I think Paul said at some point.

Defeated, I stood in the shower, and let my mind stew on all the snotty things I could have, should have said: “Oh, me? I'm fine, thanks for asking... Oh that? Don’t mind the noise, that’s just my stomach… Gosh, I wonder where the kids get it? You know what would be really fantastic? Why don’t you leave all your dirty dishes in the sink, or better yet, how about on the table?!”


My day started out with washing and folding the last of yesterday’s SEVEN loads of laundry. This particular load was comprised of too many urine-soaked shorts and sheets (Cole had FOUR accidents in one day) and cleaner-soaked rags and towels to count. I get home to hear everyone whine about being hungry, yet no one has happened to notice that I’ve been up for over three hours and haven’t eaten a thing! Now, I’m in the shower – pissed off and starving – and they are all downstairs , nourished and fed by MY GROSS OATMEAL!!! I don’t even know what to do with myself.

I think I’ll blog.

I returned to the sight of the debacle a bit ago to find a cleared table and an empty sink. So here I sit – laptop in lap and my house silent once again. Now, a little perspective…

So, they didn’t like my oatmeal.

Yes, I cleaned all day yesterday, and I woke up early this morning – by choice. I didn’t have to find places about my house to hang damp laundry. Instead, I enjoyed an extra hour of sleep and got to fold “piping-hot” clothes out of a newly fixed dryer – the one I have gone without for nearly two weeks. My son – WHO NO LONGER WEARS DIAPERS – is going through a crappy (literally. OK, not literally-literally… you know what I mean) phase, that will end as quickly as it began. He has clothes to wear, a bed in which to sleep and at age three, he knows the value of vitamins and healthy breakfast. My daughter is attuned, astute and she almost always remembers to say thank you (even if it is a little late). She came to say goodbye before she left for the day, then returned to give me an extra hug and kiss before she braved another Tuesday at preschool. She loves to learn. She’s growing. She’s FOUR!! My husband stayed with the kids this morning – as he does almost every morning – so that I could get a workout, a really good workout. He got the kids ready and dressed, he made our bed (hallelujah), he took our kids to school and now he’s out working so that we can eventually restock the pantry and fridge… in my huge kitchen… in my warm, beautiful and blessed house. And now I sit – with a warm cup of tea, after a warm shower and a warm (delicious) breakfast – writing.

It’s oatmeal, Abi. Oatmeal.

You know what would have been better? A little apricot... or raisins. Maybe nutmeg? Ginger? Darn it, I forgot to give Paul his orange juice. I bet it’s still in the fridge… Yep.

I’ve got to put away the rest of Cole’s laundry.



srosenau said...

ahhhhh. your words...reflections bring love and light to my life once again.

Joya said...

I know what it's like to be surrounded by picky eaters! I serve them their plain old boring food and spice mine up! Too bad for them. Maybe someday they'll grow to appreciate it!

Abi said...

This morning I decided to nix the cranberry altogether, and I went with old faithful: PEANUT BUTTER (plus raisins, cinnamon and a little milk). This was a good move. Not only did the kiddos practically lick their bowls clean, but I got buckets of pleases, thank yous and Maya actually asked for more oatmeal. Ha!

roxanne said...

I can't start my day without my morning oatmeal topped with some sort of fresh fruit (blueberries and raspberries are my favorite) but I'll settle for good ol raisens when I'm in need of a trip to the Sunflower Market.

I always love your perspective on everything...so uplifting.

Lisa said...

Abi- you are awesome! If my kids don't like what I make, they are "welcome to whip up something new themselves." Have they done this...no, well once, Kellan made toast. They really do appreciate us though (I do believe!), even with the face of distaste in some of our menu choices.

The Whites said...

You Rock Girly!!! I love reading your blog.....don't quit!! Hey, it sounds like your kids will eat more than mine!! And way to go getting up EARLY to work out!! I love you girl!

Leah said...

Man, You really know how to bring it.
I love reading your blog.

I've been there too...so often doing for others and not feeling the love.

You are a good mother/wife/person.

I love you Ab!