Friday, July 20, 2007

Saturday Mornings with Dan

It started as a domestic experiment, a long, long time ago, when our children were about 12 and 15, and we were hosting an 18-year-old exchange student from Japan. I was working a job that kept me out of the house every day, until about the time the boys got home from school, so Saturday was the designated housecleaning day.

The experiment was really a na├»ve attempt, on my part, to get Dan and the boys involved in helping to clean the house on Saturday mornings. I explained it to them this way: “If there are eight hours of housecleaning to be done, and I’m the only one doing it, then my Saturday is completely consumed, and I have no time for anything fun. But if five of us tackle the eight hours of housecleaning, we each have only a little more than an hour-and-a-half of work, and we can all enjoy the rest of the day.” It made perfect sense to me!

In order to make the getting-out-of-bed part more palatable, Dan and I agreed to take the boys to McDonald’s for an early breakfast every Saturday morning, before the cooperative housecleaning chores were doled out.

I’ll fast-forward here, skipping the part about how quickly the Saturday housecleaning program failed. (McDonald’s breakfasts weren’t good enough to entice three teenage boys out of bed early on a Saturday morning. And older son, Chris, was just too creative at inventing reasons he had to be excused.) But here we are, almost 20 years later, and I can report that ONE part of the experiment has survived . . . the Saturday morning breakfast.

What you have to understand is that Dan loves tradition. I think he may have seen Fiddler on the Roof just one too many times! And for something to be declared a tradition in our house, it only has to happen two or three times. So the Saturday breakfast became a tradition (I wonder why the cooperative housecleaning didn’t), and traditions must NOT be broken. Not only does Dan love traditions, but he is also prone to creating “rules” for them. Here are the rules for Saturday morning breakfasts:

1. I must not let Dan sleep past 8:30, so we won’t be too late for breakfast (to be fair, he seldom sleeps that late, anyway).
2. We must not eat at the same restaurant two Saturday mornings in a row.
3. McDonald’s is not an option.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and I’m looking forward to breakfast with Dan. Our Saturday mornings are a special time, when the two of us spend a pleasant, leisurely hour or more together, sharing, discussing, thinking, remembering and planning. Score ONE for Dan, the Preserver of Traditions!

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