My body shakes and shivers with the memory of breakfast back in the day. Mountain Dew. Marlboro Light (cuz you know, it was healthier than Marlboro Reds) and a pop-tart if I was treating myself. The goal was to get as much sugar and caffeine in my system as quickly as possible.
I didn’t pay any attention to what I was doing to my body or to my heart or soul, actually. So does that mean that breakfast is supposed to be moving shit around in your soul? Well, no. I guess not. But it can and that’s kinda cool.
I eat my morning oatmeal and think about being a kid and how oatmeal was made in a big pot to be shared with my brother and sisters. I think about my grandma, for some reason. Even though I know the reality is that she didn’t always live with us and when she did she left early for work at the local Campbell Soup factory, so did she make us oatmeal? Maybe it’s a Saturday. Or I just connect comforts of my childhood with her.
My mom didn’t fix breakfast for us kids every day. We didn’t have the tradition of her being in the kitchen to greet us. Not everyday. Sometimes my big sister cooked for us. But usually we were on our own so it was a bowl of dried cereal and milk, some scuffling, bitching and whining with my siblings and then out the door to school. I think it was the cold Minnesota mornings with freezing winds that were waiting for us at our doorstep that I’m remembering now. These were special occasions when Mom would fix us hot cereal. I wish I had more memories of her taking care of us.
Oh… coco wheat. That’s what she’d fix…now it’s coming clear to me. I can almost taste it. Yummm. Hot. Lumpy. Extra sugar. Thick milk. That shit would pack in tight against my ribs and I’d be set to head out into the world.
When Bird was born I decided we would always have breakfast together. That meant many mornings of getting up early, running around a bit so we could make it to the table to eat together. Just me and my girl. I loved fixing her breakfast. Making the healthy choice for her and knowing that she at least had food in her as she ventured out to school everyday. When she got older, in middle school, some of that, “let’s sit together” began to change. Mornings included the radio cranking out current pop hits, some Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl” with Bird not singing all the lyrics (she didn’t swear in front of me until college. Weird rule. I know, cuz I cuss like a fuckin sailor) But anyway…some mornings I’d get out a cassette or DVD of something fun and funky. And we’d dance in our tiny kitchen. This happened more often when she discovered the joy of The Breakfast Club and that her mother could dance like Molly Ringwald. She played me music she liked when her crush on Usher revealed itself by the posters that adorned her bedroom wall. I played her old new wave and early punk when she discovered The Clash. She lit up my mornings! And yeah, probably not too cool to be dancing with your ma over breakfast but she did and she’d laugh as we began our day with love.
These days she’s more of a bagel and a coffee heading to the train New York City kinda girl. Or she cooks for herself. I hope the days she can actually sit and enjoy her breakfast, she has fond memories of us, too.
For me, breakfast is oats with fruit and flaxseed. A sprinkle of stevia. Some cashew milk and a big mug of hot roobios tea. I start some mornings slowly like this. Soothing like this. Being kind to my body while flooded with memories.