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Breakfast Epiphanies December 2, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Family, Food, Love, Parenting/Children, Sleep Deprivation.

This week, I fixed breakfast and ate it with my youngest son four of the five days. (On Monday, he overslept a bit, so I handed him an omlet-wrap on his way out the door.) I noticed something strange on those four mornings.

We talked.


Now, that may not seem like such a big deal, but when your son is about to turn 16, any conversation at all is memorable. In this case, they weren’t just memorable–they were good.

Memories of Breakfast Past
For the most part, our conversations weren’t deep or concerning subjects that most people would consider “important.” Even so, I found myself going into the office with a bit more bounce in my step, a better attitude, and there seemed to be less turmoil when I got home.

Friday morning, as we sat munching on some high-protein french toast (light style oatmeal bread, lots of egg, and low-cal syrup), something seemed familiar about sitting with him, eating, and talking. Minutes later, in the car on my way to work, I realized what it was: We hadn’t eaten breakfast together for a long time.

Breakfast Lost
To be fair, it’s not like I intentionally stopped eating breakfast with the boys. In fact, up until three or four years ago, the only time the three of us didn’t eat breakfast together was when I was out of town. (My wife has, for many years, needed to be at work long before the rest of us, so breakfast duty fell into my unskilled hands.) Somewhere along the way, just after my father died and when the boys were old enough to fix their own meals), our schedules shifted, and our father-son breakfast time sort of disappeared.

At the time, I didn’t notice it, probably because I had allowed myself to focus on work or other things. I also had found myself staying up later and later (rarely getting to bed before midnight), and compensating by sleeping in another 15-30 minutes each morning.

Please don’t misunderstand. Work is a necessity, and there are times when you need to take care of other things. That’s just the way life is. Unfortunately, life is also short.

Table for Three? No, Two
One of the painful aspects of my sudden realization that the three of us had stopped having breakfast together, was realizing that it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get back to sharing that time, now that my oldest is off at college. He’s on his own, and has other priorities.

However, pain is a good teacher. Pain teaches us to not touch the hot stove with our finger and to think twice before jumping off the roof of the house. Pain also reminds of things we’ve lost. Of trades that we’ve made, stealing time from here to give it there.

Perhaps that’s the most tragic aspect of my realization: Nobody “stole” breakfast time away from my sons and me. I gave it away.

Reclaiming Breakfast
In reflecting on this, and noting that my youngest is just a month away from turning 16, it occurred to me that there is a finite number of breakfasts that he and I will be able to share together. With two and a half years (hopefully) until his graduation from high school, the certainty of me travelling for work, and other interruptions to our schedules, we may be able to share another 600-650 breakfast meals together.

I don’t know how many we’ll share, but I do know this: The clock is ticking, and I will fight tooth and nail to not give any of those mornings away easily. Sitting at the table, taking my son’s hand to pray, and starting our day out with conversation and a decent breakfast. It doesn’t sound like much I suppose.

I’ll give it up, when you pry the spatula from my cold, dead fingers. spatula


1. Laura - December 3, 2006

“taking my son’s hand to pray…”

I am reminded once again what a wonderful father you are. Enjoy your special time together!

2. Mia - December 4, 2006

The beautiful vision that comes to mind is one of a day in the future when your grandchildren are blessed by these life affirming moments you value so much. You definitely are a wonderful father Timothy. Thank you for making me want to be a better Mom.

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