Recently, I had my niece, M, over for the day. She arrived in time for breakfast and I served up some warm, grilled, whole wheat cinnamon buns, made by a favourite local bakery and ordered by me about once a month through our food co-op. The kids all adore these cinnamon buns and so they dove in readily.
About two bites in, Lizzie groaned with pleasure and said, "Mom, we really need to have M over more often because then we get really delicious breakfasts!" Seth and Matthew immediately concurred.
I smiled, but it was a resigned smile. A frustrated one, really, because I tend to put a lot of effort into breakfasts. I asked my kids if they could remember what we'd had for breakfast the day before. After some thought, they came up with French Toast and a (homemade) blueberry compote. I asked if they could remember any other breakfasts they'd had during the previous week. Tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, black beans, and cheese...with fresh fruit on the side. Pancakes (with chocolate chip eyes and mouth)...with fresh fruit on the side. Peanut butter toast...with fresh fruit on the side. Oatmeal...with fresh fruit cut up overtop. And we were out with friends for breakfast on another day. Waffles from the previous week factored onto the list.
As the kids continued to list breakfasts we'd had over the past week or so, Matthew suddenly looked at me with chagrin. He got it, and apologized. It wasn't only when his cousin was over for breakfast that they are very well breakfasted children!
That evening, I told Geoff about that morning's conversation because I was still feeling a little burned by how taken for granted my breakfasts are; what was really getting to me, or course, was that I felt totally taken for granted. Geoff commented that our kids have no idea how good their lives are.
A few mornings later, as I was putting fresh, homemade raspberry scones into the oven, and chopping up bananas to go along with them, I realized how thankful I am that my kids are able to take for granted having a hearty and usually-healthy breakfast. The life that we lead, the breakfasts that we consume...these are things that, as a parent, I don't/can't take for granted because they are the epitome of luxury in this world of ours. We don't deserve these kinds of breakfasts any more than any other family throughout the world and yet so many are not nearly as fortunate. I thought about where two of my children come from, where they and so many like them had no breakfasts to eat, where children die in huge percentages before the age of five from starvation and illness. I thought about how tiny my little Seth and Lizzie were when we first saw them and know from what they have told us that they were always hungry; and my heart softened. Thank God they no longer have to worry about breakfasts; thank God they are in a position to take for granted the food on their plates. Now we just have to figure out how to feed the rest of the world.