Happily Even After
by Stacey Noem
As I sat down to write this post, I intended to write about Joy. I was roughly going to focus on the idea that, “Joy is the most infallible sign of God’s presence” (Teilhard de Chardin). This is what came out:
On Saturday morning, the children were watching cartoons downstairs and Joshua was in the kitchen making pancakes – a tradition he picked up from his own father. He has made us Saturday morning pancakes since the first year we were married. That makes 14 years of pancakes as of next Wednesday.
During that time his pancakes have evolved. When we lived in Alaska they were enormous, meal-on-a-plate creations with berries and nuts and even homemade spruce tip syrup when the season was right. One was more than enough and you really didn’t need lunch that day either.
When we lived in Florida and were expecting Oscar, the pancakes weren’t as large or extra ingredient laden. But the routine was a familiar touchstone in our otherwise transitioning family.
In fact, one Saturday morning, three weeks before Oscar was due, we set aside the time after finishing our pancakes to pack our bag for the hospital. We had no sooner zipped the bag up then my water broke! Good thing I had a solid breakfast. The rest of THAT day was crazy.
During graduate school and on into our professional lives, Saturday morning pancakes have been community building times. We love to open that time up for friends and colleagues to join us. Most folks know they don’t need to wait for an invitation. Often an out of town visitor will simply ask if we are “doing pancakes on Saturday” and “what can I bring?”
In 14 years of honing his pancake making recipes and skills Joshua has remained constant in his attention to my tastes and preferences. On the one hand, it isn’t that challenging: I only ever want chocolate chip pancakes. But let me assure you, he makes — bar none — the BEST chocolate chip pancakes in the world. So much so that I don’t even bother ordering them when we are out because they will fall so far short of his handiwork.
So, on this last Saturday morning, I came out to the kitchen table and there waiting for me was my plate of two chocolate chip pancakes – one is never enough, three can be just plain gluttonous – and my giant glass of cold milk. I sat down, smiled, and smacked the table saying, “Gosh, I love breakfast!”
Joshua turned and met my eye with a tender smile. He could see that what I really meant was, “Gosh, I love you!”
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