A writer. A creator. A storyteller. An imaginative. A sister. A daughter. A friend. A singer. I am a lot of these, all these and maybe a few more. But for this particular writing I have for you, I am a journaler.
Two christmases ago I received two items. The first, my passport [look how well panned out- living in Medellín and all]. The second, a journal. To be specific, a black, hardcover moleskine journal. It’s like twelve dollars on Amazon. I swear by these things. But this was my first. I probably requested that specific one because someone I admired had one or I saw it on Pinterest, or some other rather superficial reason. But it fits my aesthetic and now I hardly go anywhere without my trusty journal. I only have twenty pages left on my third. Back to the story. I got this journal for Christmas. It has about four entries between Christmas and Easter… oops. I even managed to forget it on my first international mission trip. Goodness. Needless to say that journal almost ended up being a great resting place for dust. But then I started writing. All of the time. At the time I was working at a coffee shop; if no one was in the cafe and my boss [who I’m convinced despised me] was in the back, I would write on whatever I could find- napkins, slips of paper, etc. Later I would tape them into my journal, it looks quite eclectic now. A month into regularly writing pages, I realized I was writing about my future for the first time in a long time. And I realized how lifeless and on the verge of hopeless I had been for the past few years. I was not even interested in looking past the hazy, ugly of what I was stuck in. Noticing that I was dreaming only set my writing frenzy on more of a wild path- I could not stop. Writing was going me hope and feeding me with soul-feeding joy.
And that brings us here. Almost finishing journal three, what am I writing now? Not just dreams, in fact those have taken the back burner. Now, just about every day I start with, “hello” or “good morning”! I write prayers, I record my days. I converse with God, still waiting for a letter back one of these days, but the communications are going fine for the time being. I write poems and song lyrics [occasionally my own, but usually others]. I write about staying up far too late laughing my butt off with my housemates [aka roomies]. Everything under the sky is inside of those journals. There are shouts of joy, pages with tear sized craters, pages with hundreds of words and pages with only a few.
And today I wrote about waffles. Not actually, I wrote the word “waffles” and then I wrote a prayer. Two prayers. One for my present family; Mother, brothers, tribe, etc. And another for the future extension of my family; husband, tinies, sister-in-laws, etc. And then I wrote out a dream, maybe you’d prefer to call it an aspiration. Here’s where the waffles actually begins to make even a snippet of sense.
We are breakfast people. I’m not sure we have always been this way. I think perhaps it started with French toast on special occasions. And to some extent the cake and icecream for birthday breakfasts may play a part in this little story. But regardless of the origin, we are very truly breakfast people now. It usually starts on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Either a brother to the Mother, suggesting a five person outing to a fabulous little breakfast joint or, my personal favorite, a Maggie to the Mother. When the second occurs, there is usually the mutal decision to begin cooking while the boys slumber away. I like to make waffles because it is quite the challenge to make them according to Elliot’s standard: high. But I don’t discriminate breakfast foods. Cinnamon rolls, pancakes, everything is an option. The mother is a professional biscuit maker. Where there are biscuits, there is gravy and where there is gravy, there is most assuredly sausage. And usually a big white ceramic bowl of scrambled eggs. Somehow the boys wake up while the feast is still warm. One of them gets plates, another cups, someone retrieves silverware and somehow all the food and a jug of orange juice end up on the table we almost only use for big family events and breakfast [our regular meals are eaten on couches or at the tiny circle table we can’t fit a whole breakfast on]. We tend to have strays join us for these breakfasts; neighbors or spare basement dwellers, occasional “secret” stowaways. I cannot tell you enough how much joy these breakfasts bring me. Typical table conversation is dominated by the boys and echoed by the laughter of Mother and myself. I thank God for this time. It accidentally happened, probably sort of on purpose, but now this is commonplace. It’s not unusual for this to take place, and that’s marvelous.
And here is where the journaling carries it’s importance. I dream of the day when the brothers and their wives and my mother and perhaps her s.o all join at one of each other’s respective homes and we do it all over again. Someone makes a pot of coffee and one of the guys cooks the bacon while I make waffles and we laugh and start adding food to the table. We partake together in something that our tiny unit of five created. And I dream of the day where the future Mr. Maggie and I, invite some pals to come over. I imagine they have their own favorite mug from my stash of too many mugs, and we make breakfast and laugh and connect and enjoy. And maybe one day I will have a baby on my hip while I flip pancakes, or I’ll be filling a sippy cup with orange juice. Maybe one day someone will ask Aunt Maggie to put one more bacon on their plate. I don’t know. Big dreams. But I love these five unit breakfasts and all they have the potential to become.
We are growing, and changing. Mom has a boyfriend. Brothers have girlfriends. Papa Tom and DeeDee are ours. We change and we grow, we move and we take with us what we have. I have learned from the wisest that the things most witty having are memories and hearts and people, not so much things.
I plan to have a kitchen table never quite big enough for all the people I’ll want to string around it at breakfast time. And maybe I’ll never have enough mugs. But I will hold to breakfasts being commonplace. I will hold on to the dream that one day, I’ll be mixing up the dough for cinnamon rolls, with a tiny that calls me momma, strapped to my tummy, and flour handprints from a sort-not-very helpful nephew on my pants, while someone holds the door for someone who’s joining the table and friends. God gives us dreams, not to tease or hurt us, but because He loves to delight in us.
So with my tin mug of coffee, I cheers you. I encourage you to write and record your dreams, your prayers, your heart desires- record however you will and hold onto things that are worth holding.
I’ll see you, one of these Saturday’s, at the kitchen table. I’ve got plenty of mugs to share and food to feed bellies. Make commonplace out of the most marvelous things, share them. Keep seats available, and a piano bench handy in case you need a little extra room for the basement crashers [always welcomed]. I make killer waffles and a decent pot of coffee.
ps. Sweet friend is officially coming to Chicago and I can’t wait to induct her into the greatness that is morning family breakfast.
And these are the things I write in my journal, because, I am a journaler.