As I step into the front hall of my house, my five siblings crowd around me as I wonder what the next few days will bring. I come home for short school breaks, during which I attempt to fix my sleep and eating schedule. My house is always loud and bustling with activity, and I have grown so accustomed to it that I don’t notice our chaos anymore. My dad, the clear ringleader of our chaotic lives, always makes breakfast on the weekends. As a child, I impatiently anticipated the Sunday scent of fresh eggs and pancakes. The whole house smells delicious and warm and lively. Throughout my life, his meals have been ones of comfort and joy.
At school, I rarely, if ever, have breakfast. It is my second nature to roll out of bed and start my day without consideration or fuel for my body. Most days, I settle for an easy on-the-go protein shake, which limits my ability to relax and reflect on what I am doing that day. A few weeks ago, when I returned home on a Friday evening, I was exhausted and needed sleep desperately. I quickly made my way to my room, and fell asleep peacefully. I woke to music playing downstairs, my siblings watching TV, and a delicious breakfast on the table. I hesitated, my college routine disrupted by the care of another person. I took a deep breath, and refused the meal; I didn’t even know what my dad was serving me. The only thing I registered was that someone else would be feeding and taking care of me—an uncomfortable and foreign feeling, to say the least.
I am an independent and strong person, and I don’t often let others take an active role in my life. My friends and my sister are the closest people to me, but the rest of my family remains at a distance. Growing up, I never felt like I could gain this distance and apparent freedom. I didn’t realize that this was so important to me until I went to school, 3 hours from home. To me, getting older is learning to let go and accept change. Although I have struggled deeply with this for a long time, I am getting better and adapting to change more calmly. I am able to take criticism and learn from my friends, but I cannot do the same with my family. Emotions and stubbornness prevent me from doing so. This is why, that spring Saturday morning, as my dad handed me a beautiful plate of French toast, I refused. His caring act of home-cooked food repulsed me. However, I realized that I was not against my dad’s cooking; I was simply opposed to the concept of accepting help and love from others.
Nevertheless, he insisted, and I admittedly was intrigued by the scent of Vermont maple syrup and fresh berries. I sat down, and indulged in his offer. I can say with full honesty– and without exaggeration– that it was the best breakfast I have ever had. In between bites, I asked him his secret recipe. He laughed, and smiled, as though seeing me with new eyes. I hope you have the same breakthrough when you taste your first bite.
Famous French Toast: makes 6 servings
½ teaspoon butter
½ loaf bread of choice
1 cup Milk
¼ cup Brown sugar
1 pinch Salt (add extra for more flavor)
Vermont Grade A maple syrup
Fresh berries (optional)
Heat a pan to medium heat, add butter, and stir until melted. Mix the eggs, milk, and salt in a large bowl. Place bread in the large bowl and let it soak for 15-30 minutes. Add brown sugar to the mixture and place individual pieces of bread on the pan. Let cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from the pan and add syrup, berries, and additional toppings of your choice.
Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash