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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Morning Rituals

Four ounces of orange juice.

When I was growing up, there were certain predictabilities.  In the morning, I woke to the scent of my mother’s first morning cigarette wafting upstairs from the kitchen.  It makes me cringe now, but as a child, the smell was comforting; it signaled that my mother was in the house and up for the day.  I would get up and, with a compulsive need for neatness that I still exhibit today, make my bed. Breakfast would be waiting for me when I went downstairs.  Our family norm was to eat in our pajamas and robes.  Four of us would sit around a small kitchen table.  Every morning we had juice, 4oz., or fruit, such as 1/2 grapefruit or 1/4 cantaloupe.  My mother would scramble eggs.  One egg per person and one extra.  Five eggs shared by four people.  Also, we often had english muffins. My mother served us each an “english muffin”; it was not until I was an adult that I learned that she was serving us one half of an english muffin -- two served our family of four. After breakfast, my sister and I helped my mother wash and dry the dishes, then returned to our rooms to get dressed and brush our teeth.  Fifteen minutes later, we were on the road to school.  What I marvel at now is how that particular ritual served as the foundation for my life.  It makes me realize how anything, repeated often enough, can become formative.  The small things count.

Today,  when I serve breakfast to my family, I offer both halves of an english muffin.

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