Angela Amman

The gratitude project: Day twelve

gratitude project

this photo has nothing to do with crepes, but he’s so much cuter than my attempt on food photography on an overcast Sunday morning

Gratitude list: Crepes for breakfast

This summer the kids have started to make their own breakfasts. I’m pretty sure they do it because the fan in our bedroom masks their scurrying feet. They’ve realized if they pour their own cereal and peel their own bananas, Ryan and I sleep a little longer and they can sneak in a bit of extra screen time.

They haven’t mastered the art of cleaning as they “cook,” and I generally come down to an open cereal container and errant Chex on the floor. Abbey recently mastered the art of boxed mac and cheese, and the fallout from her carefully cooked lunches surpasses the breakfast mess: a dusting of orange powder and pieces of macaroni forgotten under the stovetop grates. Still, I see them blossoming into people who will one day be able to feed themselves without resorting to a steady diet of cheese sticks and protein bars.

On Sunday, though, I like to make breakfast special. Now, I’m not overly skilled in the kitchen, so my special breakfasts consist of either some sort of egg concoction or a pile of carbohydrate goodness in various forms. We go through spurts: waffles for a while, then a plethora of pancakes. We’re currently craving crepes — and alliteration.

They like the crepes because of the toppings.

I provide fruit, and they add that to their little rollups, but they really dig the sweetness I don’t generally let them have at breakfast. Nutella and syrup, to be precise.

I wised up after our first gluttonous morning, and they now get a spoonful of Nutella on the side of their plates, a bit of syrup in their own cups. They top at their discretion. If they use up all the sugary goodness before they’ve had enough crepes, well, maybe next time they’ll be a little less heavy-handed with their Nutella application. (Spoiler alert: they learned quickly how to make it last until the final bite.)

The gratitude project: Day eleven

gratitude project

a birthday gift from my dad, too many years ago to count

Gratitude list: Warm laundry

As a child I had a yellow blanket and a light brown Care Bear that soon faded because of washes and cuddles and so much love. My dad gave him to me, and he’s been with me in canopy beds and dorm rooms, apartment closets and each iteration of home I’ve ever had. He’s still in my bedroom, long after I’ve purged countless childhood relics.

My mother pounces on top of housework in a way I’ve never quite grasped: dust whisked from furniture before it has a chance to settle and laundry rescued from the dryer before it has a chance to wrinkle. Maybe I’ll get there eventually.

Maybe not.

I remember sitting with her in our family room, folding warm washcloths while she tackled more complicated pieces of laundry. The iconic hospital from the General Hospital opening credits looms in the background. I remember that image but not any of the overdramatized moments I must have seen while the show played on in all of its soapy deliciousness. Some moments, when I worry about inappropriate song lyrics or whether or not they should watch certain movies, I picture that hospital, and I try not to worry quite so much.

The plus side of not always getting the laundry the moment it finishes — and there aren’t many, because wrinkles and the kids constantly asking where to find their favorite pajamas — has to be how much I appreciate when I do pull warm laundry out of the dryer.

I still use dryer sheets, even though I keep promising myself I’ll switch to dryer balls scented with lavender essential oil. So when I pull warm clothes into the basket, I can bury my face in them and breathe in the warm scent.

Warm laundry smells like lavender fields, and it feels like comfort. When I take the time to bury my hands in warm cotton and touch it to my cheek, I’m transported to freshly-washed baby blankets. I think of my own, and I think of my kids’ blankets, small and soft snuggled around their legs.

I know that warmth only lasts a few minutes. I’ll need to lug the basket upstairs and fold all of those warm clothes, because what’s the point of getting them out in a timely fashion only to let them wrinkle in a pile? So much of our lives only lasts a moment, which means I need to bury my face in them and inhale while I still have the chance.

The gratitude project: Day ten

gratitude project

photo from Dave & Busters, because we were too busy eating our ice cream in the heat to stop for photos

Gratitude list: Stopping for Erma’s Custard 

Rain casts a veil of comfort over summer days. When the air conditioning stays on in the house, it’s easy to pretend rainy days welcome blankets and books, even when the intermittent showers turn the space between the sky and the ground into what feels like a steam room.

The kids’ bickering ramped up practically before lunch. Up too late the night before, they’re still on that cusp between childhood and kids-who-sleep-in, and their tired selves pick at each other in inventive and frustrating ways. A trip to an indoor arcade smoothed the edges of sleepy impatience, and they laughed together instead of fighting.

A few extra games meant we had less time than we expected for dinner before Ryan went to a birthday party. We vacillated, another thing occurring more often in the rain. Decisions hang in the air out of our grasp, and one day we’ll be better at making them. Maybe.

A hint of whine came back into the “but we’re hungry” chorus from the backseat, and I made a non-dinner decision likely influenced by years of living with the Dairy Queen queen.

“Let’s stop for ice cream on the way home and then eat something small for dinner later.”

Ryan shakes his head at ice cream for dinner, and even the temptation of Erma’s Custard didn’t change his mind. I tried to remind him it could be considered a delayed lunch dessert, but he opted out of the creamy deliciousness that springs forth from the small building nestled among industrial businesses. (Local friends, if you haven’t journeyed to Erma’s Custard, let’s meet there sometime.)

The kids chose chocolate dipped in chocolate, which I love. However, Lemon Chiffon called my name, and the burst of lemon obviously negated the calories, because fruit.

Later, we ate cheese, crackers, and turkey pepperoni. Fruit not encased in custard completed the makeshift dinner. But I don’t regret stopping for ice cream on the way home. I don’t think I ever will, no matter how many times we do it.

The gratitude project: Day nine

the gratitude project

Gratitude list: Tired feet

We walked a lot today. Our friends are in town, and we went to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. My feet hurt from walking, and my throat hurts from talking.

As I drove home, battling a little traffic and listening to Hamilton with the kids asleep in the back, I composed an entire post in my head. I had thoughts about friendship, writing, and inspiration. As the soundtrack moved into the second act, and the traffic barely moved at all, I thought about how much fun I had with the kids. We’d left deadlines at home, skipped swim lessons, and let ourselves get lost in time with people we love.

I might write more about today later, and I might not. For now, I’m just happy to feel tired, happy, and grateful for a special day with special people.

I feel content.

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