I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was little pancakes were forming an important role in my life. Since I can remember, Sunday mornings meant pancakes with my grandpa after church. Of course this only lasted until I was about 16 or so and decided to rebel against, well, everything including pancakes (weird, I know…I had a lot going on be easy on the judgement of my 16 year old self).
Pancakes have continued their role in my life. I remember my grandpa, pulling out his griddle and mixing up the batter, to soon have the smell of freshly made pancakes fill the air. When I was very young, I would watch him eagerly awaiting not just his pancake but his story about the pancake. He’d slap the batter onto the griddle, letting it take whatever shape it wanted and he’d say “you see this one here? This one is Mickey Mouse” and then he’d proceed to tell you a story about it. Or he’d say “this one is shaped kind of like a J so that one’s just for you” and he’d set it aside for me…making me feel like queen for the day.
I never thought too much about the shape a pancake made until I was out to breakfast with some friends in my early 20s. One of my friends said “I can’t make a pancake to save my life!” I said “really?! The batter is pretty simple” and she responded “no no…I mean, I can’t make a pancake perfectly circular like they do in the restaurant. I have tried and tried and failed….so I don’t make pancakes for my kids or husband”. I went home that day and made pancakes to see if my pancakes were circular or if I’d been *GASP* feeding my husband and two kids at that time imperfect pancakes. Of course I found out the latter. And honestly, it took me some time before I started making them again. I didn’t make a conscious choice to stop making pancakes, but rather just kind of lost my luster and joy in making them.
Sometime later, after starting my MSW program and going to therapy myself I started making pancakes again. Again, the decision wasn’t a conscious one…as a matter of fact it didn’t dawn on me until writing this post that I have somehow found myself okay with being imperfect. But as I made my family pancakes this morning, as the batter hit the griddle taking whatever form it wanted, I thought of my grandpa (as I often do when making them) and I thought of what story he would tell me about that pancake if he were still here. “You see this one Jenn? This one went on a Rollercoaster and it got a little lopsided.” I smiled, thinking of this.
That’s when it dawned on me…”PANCAKES DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!!!”. In fact, maybe it is better if they aren’t! My kids aren’t sitting at the table, with magnifying glasses and measuring tapes out to determine if my pancakes measure up to perfection. No. My kids are eagerly awaiting their breakfast, making the association of their mother smiling and truly finding love in making their pancakes. They’ll remember the smell permeating our kitchen. They’ll remember that I loved them enough to serve them imperfectly shaped, but perfectly nourishing pancakes.
And while my pancake stories may never measure up to my grandpa’s stories…I hope my kids will someday make pancakes and think of me. For it is the relationship, the connection, and the love that pancakes will bring them that will be perfect.
Until next time,
P.S. Feel free to post a pic or tell me about your perfectly inpeefect pancakes!! I would love to see them!