The Saturday morning tradition of pancake making goes back to last year. It started as a nostalgic act of an American mother raising two Moroccan kids that have no idea of the childhood implication of pancakes, for theirs is a childhood of beghrir, msmen, and pain au chocolate filled breakfasts.
I choose carefully the things I introduce into their reality. Pancakes were an easy choice with all ingredients readily available here and always on hand. The goal was to have a regular weekend ritual that would culturally bind them to America and make me feel a little more like the mommy I always imagined myself to be; the kind that makes her kids pancakes on the weekend. I took the following photo precisely 9 nine months ago:
As I stood in my kitchen this morning repeating the same Saturday morning pancake ritual, I realized how far I’ve come since I took the photo.
Firstly, the girls would only sleep last night after I promised them that I would make them pancakes, this is a victory because it shows that they have, in fact come to love and rely on my pancakes.
I imagine them at college one day, surrounded by adoring friends and acquaintances that compete for their affection and attention. These friends will obviously be in total awe of their multilingualism and cultural pluralism. Someone, at some point, will mention pancakes…and they will be able to share, to explode with nostalgia and love and a binding sense of cultural identity to their classmates because they too had a childhood filled with pancakes.
Secondly, I have come far. When I look at the picture I posted above it reminds me of a tragic sense of longing and isolation. This is not the case any longer in my life. I have moved homes; my new kitchen gives way to a lovely terrace, an inner city bolt-hole, petite paradise. And while, now more than ever, I have a hollow sense of longing for my beloved Atlanta, and all of the people in it…this longing is not because my life is empty and sad and confusing here in Casablanca.
The nostalgia for my home and family is pure love for them. It’s not inter mingled with the sadness of a husband that hasn’t yet come home from the previous night. It’s not confused with an intense juxtaposition of remembering my piedmont park and comparing it to a neighborhood that had nothing more to offer than dusty construction sites. I don’t have a husband anymore, thus, I am not waiting on anyone to come home and when I wake up in the morning these are not the first jarring thoughts that run through my head. I generally wake up happy and grateful to be alive another day. I wake up hopeful and in love with everything that life has thrown in my direction. I wake up in a neighborhood full of life, beauty, markets, kids shouting and playing in the tree lined plaza, friends that live walking distance, and more coffee shops than I can find the time to frequent.
I love my life. I love my pancakes. I love my kids.