The weekend arrives and most of us crave comfort food.
Doesn’t matter if we’re so old we force ourselves to gulp down steel cut oats with flax seed meal and craisins. What we really want is challah french toast. Or bacon. Or grits.
We want our mom, our dad, our Bubbi over there in the corner, back of their head to us, shoulders hunched over, feet inside slippers, flipping something hot on the stove with our name on it.
In my imagination, this something with my name on it is called “Egyptian Eye.”
Some people call it Egg in a Nest. Others Frog in the Hole. But in my childhood home, an egg over easy inside a piece of toast paid homage to the Eye of Horus, which, if you knew my dad, made perfect sense.
Despite the fact that gluten makes me cranky, and eggs make me bloated, I fried myself up an Egyptian Eye this morning. I did this as an Ode to Joy.
I forced myself to remember how much joy I used to find in breakfast.
In being a grown up.
It all started with an irritation.
A cranky feeling stuck in my throat, which is where cranky lives in me.
Didn’t feel like washing the dishes left over from being too tired last night. Didn’t feel like making my kids anything healthy to eat, even though weekend mornings are when I usually make the effort to do so.
In general, I felt annoyed. With adulthood. With obligations. And in that moment in particular, with the burden of breakfast.
Then I stopped, chuckled.
For years, you yearned and burned for this, I told myself. Don’t you remember? Isn’t it funny now?
You wanted to be a grown up.
Don’t you remember how you screamed at your parents, “One day! You’ll see! I’ll get to decide! I’ll choose!” How you longed for your own money? For work that paid? To stay out late. To sleep where you wanted when you wanted. Eat sugar. Drink vodka. Tell people what you thought of them.
I think I completely forgot what was so great to be a grown up.
I remember once feeling joy and gratitude for finally being out there in the world on my own; responsible for my own well-being.
I remember my parents leaving me at my college dorm. I didn’t cry a single tear. I felt FREE.
I remember walking through the deep tunnels of the subway system of New York City when I first moved there after college and thinking, “Nobody knows where I am right now. I can go anywhere I want. And nobody is here to stop me.” I felt FREE.
I bought groceries — first at the local market and later at the health food shop — with such pride. I strolled the aisles with curiosity. I carefully chose interesting items and paid for them with money I had earned. I felt FREE.
I woke up on Sunday mornings, turned on some Stevie Wonder and danced around the kitchen while I made challah french toast, or pancakes, or Egyptian Eye. I felt FREE.
It’s easy for me to lay blame.
Blame the absence of joy on things being “different now.” Harder. Busier.
Blame it on the kids.
Blame it on the government.
Blame it on my work.
Blame it on my neighbors.
Blame it on modern living.
Blame it on my own choices. My husband’s. My generation’s.
I could get sucked into this blaming so very easily.
In fact, I often do.
I often get so sucked into blaming others or blaming myself that I forget what I once held to be true.
I am an adult now. I am free.
The responsibility for my well-being is on me.
I get to choose.
So I chose.
I made myself an Egyptian Eye. Truth is, I offered one to my kids too. They declined, choosing “sugary cereal” instead.
Secretly I was happy.
Happy to make something just for me.
I ate it alone. Burst open the gooey yellow center with the fork prongs, watched it seep over onto the toast. Lapped it up with joy.