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How to navigate to "Straying Home," my e-book about adolescent self-discovery through global travel. Just click on a Chapter tab, 1 to 5, immediately below.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Morning the Eggs Broke

She goes to the refrigerator, still reeling from a terrible night. She’s been awakened several times by a burning sensation in her throat. The family cat roamed all night and made noises loud enough to pull her up out of deep sleep. The kids woke up early, came into her bedroom and said they wanted to get up. “Go back to bed, you crazies. It’s not time to get up yet!”

Thirty minutes later she is driven to the inevitable--to get up and get the day started. Groggily, she walks to the kitchen and begins to organize ingredients for the family favorite: pancakes.  She opens the refrigerator door, finds the egg carton and tugs it.

CRASH. “Oh no!” she moans! She sees a dozen AA broken chicken eggs on the floor, right below the refrigerator door hinge--egg whites mingling with yellow yoke amidst broken shells, inconveniently at her feet.

Was this my mother, 50 some years ago? No, but it could have been. She had some disasters in the kitchen. It could have been my mother, any sleepy family cook or chef. It could have been you, me or anyone.

So we all need to think: what do you do when the eggs break?

The unfortunate cook thinks of calling the butler, but realizes that happens only on Downton Abbey.

This episode reminded Tammy Adamson-McMullen, a reader, of another, more serious life event. She recalled reading an essay about a woman who was pregnant and had dreamed of a "perfect" baby and all of the experiences she would have with him/her but then was shell-shocked when the child had Down syndrome. The new mother equated the experience with planning a trip to Italy and anticipating the Coliseum, fabulous foods and hilltop villages but ending up in Holland instead. There, she realized that the Coliseum, fabulous foods and hilltop villages were not to be. However, over time, she learned to see Holland in all of its glory, with its windmills, bicycles and canals. Yes, there was still loss with never having experienced Italy, but Holland was a great place to be.

Tammy continued with words like these: I guess there would be loss over not having pancakes but accepting that cereal wouldn't be so bad? With every loss, there's a gain, right?

The cook, above, acted quickly, saved what she could, and cleaned up the mess. She got breakfast back on track. She poured cereal and the family got on with the day. The unfortunate cook wasn't my mother, but my mother would have done the same.

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