I believe in family meals. I like sitting down together, even for simple sandwiches in the middle of the day, but breakfast is different. Depending on our plans for the day, it can be wonderfully relaxing or a little hurried and utilitarian. I like our summer breakfast routine, but I'm looking forward to seeing people at the table in the morning when school starts.
I'm a little testy in the morning, and this is nothing new. Family lore has it that I have been this way since I was old enough to have a mood. My husband is the morning person in our relationship and he's more likely to fry up an egg-in-a-hole or toast bagels for our children. Or they do it themselves. I tend to wave listlessly, telling them I love them and making sure they have their lunches. I am the master of afternoon snacks and dinner, when I'm at my best and the early risers are losing steam.
But I like greeting my family in the morning and, when I occasionally manage to sleep in and miss telling them goodbye, my day feels a little off. This summer, I've had to let that go.
Teenagers like to sleep in, at least the ones in my house. In addition to our own two, we are hosting a teenaged house guest from France. Though there are many cultural differences, sleeping late seems to be a joy they all share. Even our eight year old has picked up on the trend, often sleeping until 9:30. What does this mean? They need to make their own breakfasts, and I get to make mine.
During the school year, whoever gets to the kitchen first makes breakfast. Though this is usually my perkier-than-any-human-should-be-in-the-morning husband, my children will start preparing something for everyone if they beat him to it.
This summer, bizarrely enough, I'm usually the first one awake, often by an hour or more. (Well, okay, except for my husband, who gets up so much earlier than everyone else that he doesn't even entertain the idea of breakfast companionship.) If anyone else is awake, I'll share, but if they're still snoring, they fend for themselves. During this lovely week at the beach, I've eaten and left for yoga before they've opened their eyes.
At first I felt a little guilty, like I should make sure they had a healthy breakfast to start the day. But, with the exception of the eight year old, these boys are certainly old enough to know how to cook a basic meal and feed themselves, and there are ample groceries for them to use.
My favorite summer breakfast has been avocado and bacon on toast, and the smell of frying bacon often brings a sleepy kid or two into the kitchen. Though I'm glad to see them, I don't feel particularly sad when left to eat alone on my mother in law's screened porch, reading a book and enjoying a light breeze from the marsh.
Our family's heretofore unspoken rules for breakfast are simple.
- First one in the kitchen makes breakfast, or at least offers, for anyone who's there by the time they start cooking.
- Once the first breakfast has been served, it's every man (including me) for himself.
- No matter how many people are at breakfast, reading material is allowed, though phones and other electronic devices are discouraged.
Though I miss seeing my children's faces in the morning, we make up for it at night. Summer allows for later bedtimes, longer dinners, and lovely conversation.
How does breakfast work in your house? Is your vacation routine different?