{Recipe} Nostalgia, Bittersweet Memories & Motherhood

Calum Lewis Unsplash

Our doula had told us that there would be moments in parenting when we would be asked to face painful points of our past — that mamahood does that. 

It asks you to revisit parts of your past in moving forward with your present and your future, all because of a little being you helped bring and nurture into the world.

My daughter likes to wake up early. 5:30am is when we tell her that it's a good time to get up, and sometimes, depending on the seasons, this can shift to be earlier or later. 

Recently, she's been waking in the middle of the night, looking for us, wanting a cuddle. Because she's our only child and we don't plan on having anymore, we indulge her for a few moments, before we bring her back to her bed, and allow her to resettle herself.

This morning, I told my husband he could sleep in.

The light hadn't yet come through the windows and my daughter was marveling at a fish we're pet-sitting for friends.

Every morning, she wants an "almond milk smoothie," and after that, we begin the process of prepping her breakfast and packing her lunch for school.

This morning, I had the inclination to try something different.

"Would you like cinnamon toast?" I asked my daughter, who recently decided she loved this spice.

I rummaged through our cabinets to figure out how I could make this healthfully, because the last time I made this was for my youngest brother — with white toast, white sugar, non-organic butter, and cinnamon that had been in the cabinet for who knows how long.

He loved it. He was eight years old at the time. 

When I left for college, he called me one day and asked, "Judy? Could you tell me how to make that cinnamon toast again?"

Ever since he was a baby, he was the one I was connected to most. I would cuddle with him on the floors in the morning while he was an infant, before I walked myself to school.

He's the one I scooped up immediately when the Northridge Quake happened, fleeing outside the house.

He's the one who'd hang out with me and all of my friends, following us around like the most adorable dimpled duckling.

I'm the one my parents called when he had appendicitis and wouldn't get out of the car post-surgery, because it hurt him too much. I was already at college, and was coaxing him to come out and into the house, despite how much it hurt.

When he called me that day in my dorm freshman year, my heart both cracked and melted. I missed him tremendously and felt enormous guilt that I wasn't there to protect him, because by now, my parents marriage was completely off kilter and careening towards rocky cliff-sides that I wasn't around to protect him from.

These days, my youngest brother is a fully grown man. He's 31. He just got engaged.

And, my heart cracks again that along the way, our bond dissolved, so that when he was proposing, I ended up finding out on an Instagram story.

All of this is what I thought about while making my daughter's cinnamon toast.

She took a bite, delighted.

I tried it, too.

It was delicious.

After my husband dropped her off at school, he came home to tell me that she was excitedly noshing on it on the way there, that she told him, "This is very good toast!" and when he returned, I made him a slice. 

And one for me, too.

There are so many moments in my mamahood journey that are bittersweet. I breathe through them and find the gift of the moment.

Life. It's never black or white. It's radiant in the grey.

Here's the gluten-free cinnamon toast recipe I came up with... maybe your lil' ones will like it, too!

  • Choose your favorite gluten-free bread. My husband buys the Trader Joe's brand.
  • Get yourself some ah-MAYZING coconut manna
    • If you've never tried coconut manna, it's the fleshy part of the coconut and becomes an incredibly rich and sweet spread — highly nutritious.
  1. Toast the bread on both sides in a skillet with butter (or coconut oil, if you'd like it to be vegan).
  2. When it's still warm, spread the manna on it. 
  3. Sprinkle lavishly with organic cinnamon.
  4. Drizzle local honey (great for your immune system to get the nutrients your body needs, because the local bees are processing it for your specific environment).
  5. Enjoy!

Lemme know how it goes. :)