Warning: For those of you parents reading this who used to attend Pancake Saturdays, you are going to cry big crocodile tears mostly because like never before, you are going to miss ME and those quiet hours on Saturday morning when I would take your children off your hands for several hours and leave you to do laundry, nurse a hangover, make out with your partner, whatever you used to do. Know that I miss YOU too, and am crying with you.
When we lived in El Paso we used to host a Saturday morning social event for neighborhood kids called “Pancake Saturdays”. Adults were invited to drop off their children around 8 a.m. and pick up them up around 11 a.m. (that same day) and were discouraged from coming inside for coffee, as it was a “’kids only” thing. Between 8-11 a.m. (in no particular order) my children hosted up to 8 friends in our home and without any adult supervision (aka micromanaging) they played games, watched cartoons and hosted a pancake breakfast, all I had to do was make 40 pancakes on the skillet in my kitchen in my jammies.
Some of our fondest memories of El Paso are of Pancake Saturdays. Of course now that they don’t take place anymore my children have romanticized the breakfasts talking about the hundreds of children who attended and the buckets of candy I distributed. But the truth is, Pancake Saturdays were always small and totally sweet and catered to the neighborhood.
Our last year in El Paso the breakfasts didn’t occur as often as Saturday mornings got eaten up by organized sports. We talked a lot about having Pancake Saturdays but they just sort of stopped and me and my children missed them and then we moved. Would we ever have them again?
The first thing you need for Pancake Saturdays is a group of friends then you need the space to feed the friends breakfast. Upon arriving in our teeny tiny apartment it was obvious hosting more than 2 children for breakfast was out of the question and we really only had one friend who was a kid and her mom didn’t like her eating the pancakes I made and instead wanted us to try the healthy kind. We decided to table Pancake Saturdays.
And then just last month we moved into an apartment with room to host more than 4 diners in the kitchen or the dining room – my spirit lifted at the chance to host anything! And what did we host first? A pancake breakfast! It was totally on the wrong day (Sunday) and was part of an all-day Axis and Allies tournament that catered to 10-year old boys not necessarily neighbors, but we finally hosted a pancake breakfast and it felt so awesome. As is the case with the most of the milestones we experience in our new life, I find myself over analyzing and obsessing about every detail. I ask myself questions like “How does today’s milestone compare to the one in El Paso?” “How are these children different than the children in El Paso?” “Are my children looking homesick and sad?” “Do these pancakes seem dry?”
And as I sit and obsess, I look at my children for guidance and they seem to be so calm, not at all carrying the burden of overanalyzing every minute. But who knows with children! Sometimes they don’t talk about a thought or feeling for several months or even years. Sitting there eating pancakes at our kitchen table with 6 friends, my children looked calm and didn’t at all seem to be picking up the screaming message in my head that was blaring “THIS IS THE FIRST PANCAKE BREAKFAST WE’VE HOSTED IN OUR NEW CITY, ISN’T THIS INSANE?!?!?!” (Could you for one minute imagine being my child?)
Of course I learned a few things about my children and their new friends despite all the over-analyzing I was doing. Here are just a few things I picked up on;
1. Both of my children are so much more patient than I am when it comes to making friends
2. Boys do talk, they talk so much
3. When left alone, children problem solve with words (I sort of knew that already)
4. Six children can play together for up to six hours without video games. Imagine?!
It feels so great to still be learning so much from our move, I didn’t anticipate that would be such a huge part of it. And it also feels so good to carry over old traditions and make them new and unique to our new city and life. I am grateful to have children who are open and patient, they are both making me that way every day. And who knows, maybe we’ll switch it up and host Pancake Sundays from now on, we had such an amazing first run.
Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni