rituals: the big pancake (megan gahan).

Guest Post Tuesday, exclamation point! Meet Megan, a lovely editor I’ve come to know through She Loves Magazine, and a person I’d like to be just a little more like after reading her Heart Words today. I believe I say this every week, but I’m pretty sure Megan’s words were written just for me …but since I’m nice, I suppose I’ll share them with you as well. Enjoy.

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I haven’t cooked dinner in two months.

Maybe a chicken breast here or there. But not much beyond that.

Coincidentally, my husband has been away for the last two months. Summer is his busy season, the time of year he has to disappear at a moment’s notice, leaving me and two little daddy’s boys to fend for ourselves.

Fending for ourselves looks a lot like cereal for dinner.

This is a hard season for a few reasons. As someone whose sanity is directly correlated to checked to-do list boxes and structure, the sudden unpredictability of our summers makes me a little crazy. I swing from a can-do-spirit to a fetal-position-on-the-floor-spirit in five minutes flat. It’s my oldest who feels Daddy’s absence the most though. Three-year-olds are not the best at expressing deep emotion, so whining, temper tantrums, and bowling over little brothers are the current coping mechanisms of choice.

A week or so after my husband left, I found a recipe for a pancake. Yes, a single pancake. Thick batter is poured into a pie pan, then baked in the oven until the center is firm but custardy. It sounded a little odd, but it also sounded like a lot less work than making multiple pancakes.

I made it that first week, on a grey Saturday morning. I measured out flour, salt and butter. I carefully cracked the eggs on the side of the mixing bowl, then spent the next ten minutes picking shards of eggshell out of the batter. My toddler was within an inch of me during the whole process, green eyes locked on the whisk as I rapidly swirled the ingredients together. The babe squawked at my feet, desperate to be part of the action.

With all our faces plastered against the oven window, we watched as the edges precariously rose several inches up and then rapidly deflated. The timer rang and I tentatively pulled it out of the oven, not quite sure what it was supposed to look like.

Asher stared at our concoction and declared, “Mommy, that is one biiiiiiiiggggg pancake!”

I heaped a slice onto each of our plates, and mashed up a third slice for the babe. A hearty serving of sugar soaked strawberries was piled on top.

We each took a forkful and silently let it melt in our hungry mouths. The tartness of the berries was perfection with the buttery pancake, and we ate and giggled until the pie pan was clean.

We declared the big pancake a success.

The following Saturday, we made the big pancake again. It felt strange to start a new tradition with a quarter of the family missing. But it also felt necessary. You see, I want to be intentional about these moments together, instead of just biding my time. I need to be reminded that though life looks different now, it is still good. And I can celebrate that goodness with sugar and ice cold milk and saucy fruit. I can slice through the soft centre and know we have a special something that is just ours, that reflects this season. This season of jammies until noon and simple food and Mommy locking herself in the bathroom for just a shred of peace.

This Saturday, I’ll pull out my yellow mixing bowl once more, and toast to making it through another week with vibrant berries and our big pancake. I’m not sure whether I’ll continue making it when my husband returns. Perhaps it will be one of those traditions that comforts and stabilizes for a season and then naturally fades away, returning when it’s needed most.

MeganGahanIf you call me Meg I’ll feel like we’ve been friends for a while, so do go with that. By day I run after two little dudes, but when the house is – finally – quiet I like to write, often a giant mug of Earl Grey Vanilla beside me. More often with a giant bowl of ice cream. I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over ten years, so talking body image and push-up technique gets me excited. I ponder those things, along with faith, parenting, and my desire to be a superhero over at my blog and SheLoves Magazine. Oh, y’all, it’s Cara again: I mean, did Megan capture the beauty of a ritual-filled Saturday morning or WHAT?! I am so grateful for her perfect, filling words to me, as I’m sure you are as well. Leave her some love!

8 thoughts on “rituals: the big pancake (megan gahan).

  1. Oh Meg, you are one of my favourite writers. This right here is perfection. Also, yes to the fetal position moments 😉 We’re at the tailend of a heatwave (100f without aircon) and Kaya decided to get chicken pox right at the same time. Kitchen? What kitchen? It’s been bread and cheese every meal. Thanks for the reminder to still be intentional xx

    1. Goodness, I’m so honoured by your words, Fiona. Thank you. Also, a heatwave + chicken pox????? You have my sympathy and prayers, friend. Packing you up a superhero cape right now! Much love

      1. You asked for it!

        Baked Pancake with Saucy Fruit (seriously, MAKE the fruit)

        2 eggs
        1.5 cups milk
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        3/4 cup flour
        3 tablespoons sugar
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        2 tablespoons unsalted butter
        2 cups saucy fruit

        Step 1: Make saucy fruit! In a medium bowl, toss together 2 cups berries or other small chunks of fruit and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Use right away or let sit for at least 20 minutes.

        Step 2: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a 10 inch heavy skillet or pie plate into the oven.

        Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt.

        Step 4: Carefully add the butter to the hot pan in the oven. Close the oven door and let the butter melt and turn a light (not dark!) brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and add the batter.

        Step 5: Return the pan to the oven and cook until golden and set, about 20 minutes (Meg’s note: Mine is done after about 15 minutes). Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes (the pancake will deflate a bit), cut into wedges and serve with fruit.

        Consume entire pan.

  2. Oh Meg, this post is just so beautiful and heartfelt. I’m thankful you’ve been able to find moments of tradition and consistency in such a inconsistent season. Ps. I’m coming over on the Saturday after we return for pancake 😉 yum!

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