As you get older, some of the rituals of your youth begin to erode away. A kid's day is oppressively routine: wake, brush, breakfast, school, lunch, brush, homework, dinner, wash, brush, bed, repeat.
It's no wonder that once you have a bit of freedom on your own, the brushings aren't as regular, because Mom isn't there to examine your toothbrush to see if you just ran it under the faucet. The homework waits until the last possible second, so you discover that you can study and drive at the same time and slink into class with seconds to spare.
One ritual that I wish I had the time, energy and discipline to keep up with is breakfast. No matter how busy or hectic or lazy we were, there was always breakfast ready for us kids before we went to school. I can still picture it: two pieces of wheat toast on my blue plate, glass of apple juice, banana and a Flintstone vitamin laid out on a napkin. I'm sure I sometimes left the toast, drank only some apple juice, spit out the vitamin, or took the banana with me and let it become mashed in the bottom of a backpack.
Looking back at the care and dependability my mom took with making our breakfasts, I wish I could have left a clean plate every time. But kids don't always appreciate the little things their parents do and can't see into a future where a well-balanced meal would be gladly accepted in exchange for the cold McNuggets you ate on the way to work. So Mom, Dad, thanks for all the breakfasts, and I'm sure those Flintstone vitamins gave me prehistoric powers.
Sometimes I still manage to have breakfast. Sometimes, it's even before noon. I'll have a big bowl of cereal at home while watching Saturday TV wrapped in a blanket (because blankets are cheap, natural gas is not). And when money is tight and your poultry and / or cattle rations are depleted, breakfast for dinner becomes a delightful foray into creative pancake making. Often, I'll meet friends at a local greasy spoon knowing that group support and hash browns will be needed to emerge from our zombie-like sleepless state. And we all know that magic feeling when we realize there is 20 minutes left before the breakfast menu at McDonalds is relegated to the land of shadows and ghosts.
I do enjoy breakfast. There are the restorative powers that coffee, juice and pounds of hot, greasy starches have on even the most sleep-deprived morning. There are the conversations about what to do with the rest of day, the sharing and swapping of sections of newspaper, the sassy waitresses, the diner clatter and chatter in the background. The Golden Dawn, an old-school diner by my house with great food, is perfect for when you want to literally roll out of bed and into a booth (it's downhill, so it's entirely possible). C's Waffles in Hubbard makes the best eggs Benedict I've ever had again and again. They even remember that I get a large orange juice and sometimes alternate between the Benedict and the almighty Waffle-O Breakfast. And all-night truck stop diners, well, sometimes you have swap quality for convenience and a hot (or lukewarm) meal on an early morning (or a really late night).
So breakfast, here's to you. I don't always appreciate your bounty, and sometimes sleep is a cruel mistress, but you've always been there when I needed you. Someday, I shall have you again. But not today. I sleep in on Sundays.