Blueberry Waffles and Unexpected Love

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– Gold Prize Winner (3 of 3) for our “Love” Writing Contest.
– Winners are being featured all this week.

 Jen Rouse,
Albany Oregon
Free-lance writer
The Short Years Blog

When I was a kid, my dad made blueberry waffles every Sunday morning. While mom got my sister and I all dressed and combed and pretty for church, he would mix up batter and cook batch after batch on the ancient waffle maker, the one my parents got for a wedding present in 1974. He would mix together blueberries and sugar and cornstarch, heat them until they were the perfect sweet, syrupy concoction, and we’d all sit down for a morning feast before heading off to church together.

I don’t remember anything in particular that anyone said at those Sunday morning breakfasts, but I remember being there, Mom and Dad and Cheryl and I, together around the table every week.

And then years went by. My sister and I started spending the night at friends’ houses. We started staying up late, watching movies and giggling with our friends over bowls of popcorn and gallons of Coke and Mountain Dew. When Sunday mornings came, we slept in, rising just in time to throw on some clothes and slump into the back seat of the car.

Dad still made waffles and blueberry sauce every Sunday, but they just sat there, growing colder and colder on the table, and after he ate his share he would carefully wrap them up and put them in the refrigerator, where they would sit for a few more days until eventually someone threw away the remainders.

Finally, he stopped making waffles and blueberry sauce on Sunday mornings.

It wasn’t that big a deal, at the time. We weren’t rejecting our family. We were good kids, and we just liked to sleep in.

But looking back–when I think of my dad, who is a man of few words, caring for us in this sweet and tangible way–I want to take teenager-me and shake her for letting those beautiful waffles grow cold, for letting Dad sit and eat them alone.

Love is a gift, something that families choose to give each other every day, and no one should take it for granted. Not even a thoughtless teenager, so wrapped in her parents’ love that she doesn’t even feel it; so secure that she doesn’t stop to taste, to savor, to say thank you.