For the longest time, I rarely made my kids breakfast – once they were old enough to pour cereal and keep the milk in their bowl, I kind of left it up to them as they were getting ready for school. As a young wife and mother, I was not, by any stretch, a “morning person,” to the extent that my older children will remember New Year’s Day as the day Mom made them breakfast (Huevos Rancheros – recipe coming tomorrow); the other 364 days of the year were kind of a crap shoot.
Then their dad and I separated. In parting, we offered one another a single piece of advice – somewhat symbolically – with the agreement that we would truly try to take what the other said to heart… in the spirit of, “here’s something that might have helped us, and maybe if you do this next time around, things will work out better.” I told him, “Be present.” He said, “Make breakfast.”
It sounded simple. It wasn’t – it was profound.
So I took his advice: I started getting up a little earlier and making sure that the girls got something home-cooked and substantial to start their day, nine mornings out of ten. Cold cereal, while not completely off the menu, was no longer the default choice. A few months into the new routine, I began to notice subtle changes: our mornings got a little easier, and – more importantly – my girls came to expect that I would be there for them in a way I hadn’t been before. This slow shift in attitude seemed to flow into other parts of our life, and though I can’t explain how or why, or even really attribute the changes to breakfast per say – I can say that it did make a difference. Soon I was packing their school lunches too, even though they are quite capable of doing so themselves. Even after a few years of this routine, the gratitude I feel from them for this small act of service – (Yes – Gratitude! From teenagers!) – is encouraging in ways I don’t have words to express.
Then I married Mr. B. – a man who gets up every weekday before the sun to get ready for work. A man who never once asked me if I was going to get up and make him breakfast, but was thrilled when I started doing so. A man who never once requested or expected that I pack his lunch for him, but was so genuinely delighted when I did that I added that to my morning ritual as well. For the first time in my life, mornings have become something to look forward to. In fact, one of the best moments of my day comes every morning just after breakfast, when we curl up together in our big chair-and-a-half and watch a little “I Love Lucy” before he heads out into the world. All because I chose to start making breakfast.
So in this New Year, as so many of us resolve with hope-filled hearts to be better, I offer you this same simple advice: Make breakfast. If you already do that, then Yay! You get it. You know. If you don’t – try it. It may change more than your morning routine. And if Breakfast is just not going to happen for you any time soon, then let me ease your mind, because “Make breakfast” wasn’t really the advice I received: beneath the surface of those words lays something far more important. Ironically, it is exactly the same advice that I offered: “Be Present.” Be there for the people you love. Nourish their hearts. Let them know every day, in small, simple ways, that they are the most important people in the world to you. Because they are.
Have a Happy and Joyful New Year!
Significant portions of this post were taken from , originally published on in September 2012.
Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net