When my oldest two were four and seven and I was pregnant with the youngest, we went to Yellowstone. It was May. Deep snow lined the roads through the high mountain passes even while the sun made long sleeves unbearable.
Because I’m into conversation, every night I would ask the kids and my husband what their favorite thing had been from the day. My son talked about the bear we saw, hikes we took, and Castle Geyser’s eruption. My daughter’s answer? “That we ate breakfast together.”
It was the same every night.
She’d watched bison and elk, climbed rocks, and invented a game called “catch-stick” that we still play at the Firehole River Picnic Area. She hiked, quite happily, for miles, laid hold of a “bear-fighting stick” that she planned to defend the family with, and had even seen a bear. She did all this, and her favorite thing was that we ate breakfast together?
Breakfast together was a daily event at home. At least, it was for the kids and me. Her Daddy was at work by the time we sat down to eat. She is what we call in our family a “we,” one who, while extremely comfortable with her own company, likes to share even life’s little adventures with others, adventures like breakfast.
That was ten years ago and while my kids have been busy growing and changing, some things have stayed the same. Castle is still my son’s favorite geyser. For my daughter, the best part of an evening or a visit with friends or family is, in her words, “just hanging out.”
Monday through Friday we still eat breakfast without Dad. On Saturdays, though, we have breakfast together. It’s a late one and we call it brunch. It’s one of the best parts of our week, the capstone of a slow Saturday morning.
Not all Saturday mornings are slow. Some start fast and don’t end until we’re ready to drop after dark. Our kids have activities. We have a home and a yard to keep up. Some days we’re just gone and on the go all day long.
But a slow Saturday morning when I’m up before the sun and the house stays quiet for a long time? This is where I carve out some mental space in the midst of a busy week. It’s where I create the stillness which I’ve learned that my soul needs to thrive. I read. I think. The fog in my brain dissipates.
As the sun rises, the family trickles in sleepily from their rooms. Bearing books or blankets or Bibles, they snuggle up to me on the couch or crash in a big comfy chair. They read. They stare out at the window at the rising sun. Sometimes they drift back to sleep.
Eventually, though, we must rise and move toward our day and whatever tasks it holds. Mine are in the kitchen.
Life in my kitchen runs on a predictable cycle of feast then famine. A few days of food flowing from cupboard to oven to table are invariably followed by two or three weeks of culinary chaos. We eat. Looking back, I can never determine exactly what, because I didn’t cook enough to make that many leftovers.
Hopeful for less famine and more feast, I use these mornings to prepare not only our brunch but for the week ahead. While brunch bakes I mix up a batch of muffin mix, or dough for artisan Bread in Five, or prepare a big salad for the week. It helps.
My littlest girl likes to set a pretty table. When both she and the food are ready, we sit and pray and talk about the week behind and the one to come. Then the slow part is over. Life resumes again its normal pace, faster and louder than I would like, but tolerable after a slow Saturday morning.
And you? Is there a place in your week where you can make some mental space? Or, you already have that, what do you do?