Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eggs, bacon and lots of love

One of the great things about our "new" life since we moved to Washington has been having meals together, at home. I'm sure that most people who live in a big city, with big city jobs and demands and long commutes, must have the same problem we used to have back in Miami. We pretty much had meals together only in the weekends and always at restaurants. Sometimes we used to have breakfasts at grandma's house but most always will go to a little Cuban cafeteria by our house that was good, fast and affordable. Since our move, I've become more "domestic" so part of the experience has been cooking; like everything in life one must do as a chore, it really was not something I looked forward to doing. Regardless, now that I'm in charge of feeding this troop, I'm actually taking pride in pretty much every meal I put together. My parents teased me the last time they visited that every breakfast at my house feels like a Sunday Brunch at a restaurant; although they were exaggerating a bit, they were right indeed! I do try to make daily breakfast special at our home but on Saturday and Sunday, I really go all out. I must confess that when we first moved, we did try to continue having breakfast out on weekends but the wait was always annoying and the kids would be unruly but the time we sat down - it was not very enjoyable, to say the least. I ended up realizing that pretty much everything we ate out at breakfast time, with the exception of dim sum, we could make at home ten times better. We decided to try breakfast at home and little by little, we gave up the restaurant outings. Originally, it was my husband's job to cook but I'm not sure exactly when I took over! Breakfast cooking doesn't feel to me like "cooking" - there is something about it that gives me an opportunity to show my family how much I love them. Making breakfast it's not just about cooking the usual pancakes, eggs and bacon but also making more sophisticated stuff like quiches, rice/eggs/cheese cups, ham/cheese empanadas, oatmeal & honey loaf breads and even throwing in some fresh fruit with whip cream! It is indeed something I look forward to doing, although I still give my husband a hard time for quitting his job as our original breakfast cook.

I always knew that weekend breakfast was a labor of love for me but I had no idea that the kids realized this too. Of course they always say thanks for the yummy food when they are done but what Frankie did last Sunday was off the charts. While he was enjoying his scrambled eggs and inhaling his bacon, he stopped to breathe and said: "I love you mom and I'm happy!"- then he got up from his chair and gave me a hug. Not only did he tell ME that he loved me but also went around the table telling everyone else how much he loved them too! We all pretty much melted with such display of emotion from our little guy so, in turn, we started to say "I love you" to each other too. I don't think that a moment like this would have taken place at a noisy, busy IHOP!

Life can be a little tough for families dealing with autism but there is not enough said about the joys to be experienced too. I think that because you work so hard to cope, you also become more aware and more in tune, not only with your special kid but with your entire family too. Sometimes I feel like I was asleep before and that I didn't wake up to life until Frankie came into our family; I regret all the years I missed from my kids' lives because I was just going through the motions without really experiencing each moment. I must say that there are some sorrows in my life today but also much more happiness. Most days, I'm not sure of what lies ahead for our family or of what we are going to be doing next month or next year; what I'm certain of, is that on Sunday morning I will cook breakfast for my family, not only so we can eat together but so we can enjoy each other's love.

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