Pancake day. One of my favourite days ever. Every year I make homemade pancakes mainly because I adore them and it gives me an excuse to have them for my dinner!
Sitting around our table with my three little ones … three! How did that even happen. While they all tuck into their pancakes I feel so lucky and grateful for this little moment in our family. Although sometimes we have a quick easy tea I do also like to make everything from scratch too when I have the extra time. So this was a moment where I’d spent a good hour making those 24 pancakes for us.
When we finally sat down to eat them and it was silent while they chomped away I felt so happy. So happy to have each of them with me and enjoying our pancakes and filling their little bellies.
It became apparent to me just like it does everyday, and in this moment more then ever how quickly they grow and I look at them now at 8,5 and 15 months old and I sometimes puzzle about how we got here to this stage. Archie didn’t stop checking in on me every 15 minutes asking when they’d be done, and lifting the plate to see how many pancakes I’d made. He wanted as many as possible I’m sure he must have gobbled down at least seven of them! He is definitely my son for his love of pancakes and actually was a huge craving of mine at the end of my pregnancy with Archie.
Whenever I make pancakes for my little family regardless of whether it is pancake day or not I’m taken right back to a moment in my aunties huge house in Cape Town. Mahogany staircase, huge living area with expensive leather armchairs and a decadent fashioned rug. You go straight through the doors to a kitchen diner with a small kitchen island straight ahead. Dinning table on my left, oak. A few plants scattered round and double glass doors on the right out onto a paved terrace, garden area with a rainbow hammock and some deck chairs, glass astray too.
It had been Christmas and I’d received a tape recorder as my main present so I could recorded myself telling stories and singing, I was 7. I was showing everyone and my uncle L (at the time). I say at the time because present day my aunt is passed away and they ended their relationship many years ago. But that stage in my life they were married owned a house together and he was my uncle.
I still remember his face clearly his brown beard cheerful happy face and the best smile, one that would always light up a room instantly. I loved him so much. Still have such fond memories when I think of him. He was a good person. He was so kind and caring of me, I really felt that from him. He took me in his jeep once, mum had let me and there was no roof and my hair was going crazy I was so scared but it was so fun at the same time.
So he was a pretty cool person and a pretty big part of my childhood memories. He gave me my love for pancakes I almost swear it. He taught me how to make them. I’d watch him make us pancakes and I still remember how he told me to flip them and add just the right amount of batter so that they were thin and just right. I like mine with cinnamon and sugar and a tiny pinch of lemon he’d tell me.
I think what meant the most to me was that while he made the pancakes he’d happily show me what he was doing and include me.
Sadly now though my aunt is passed away. Writing that down it still just doesn’t seem real. That she is gone. I still haven’t really processed the idea of her not being here any longer. I know the fact but the reality is different.
When she ended her relationship with uncle L before her passing, her life turned quite badly and when she passed it was under sad circumstances and I’m sure in part it was because she had given up.
I didn’t see much of her well I actually didn’t see her leading up till the end of her life even in the 10 years before.
I like that I remember the aunty who had a whole walk in wardrobe dedicated to only her boxes of shoes. She was a woman I very much looked up to as a little girl and I was so devastated when we moved to England and I never really saw her.
Later in my life, as a young teenager, she changed and that I think is when my heart broke first, it broke because that is when I felt like I lost my aunty. The one who had it all together when I was 7, the beautiful stylish aunty who lived in a huge house, she had everything. She had her own business and she just meant everything to me.
But with death or change or grief I really feel that the person doesn’t have to be deceased for you to feel grief. Grieving a person can happen when they walk out of your life and never come back.
I feel I grieved my aunty many years before her passing. But in all of that she taught me so much and gave me great experiences as a young girl, she brought uncle L into my life at a time where I think I must have needed him.
And I came away with making my own family the most lovely little tradition. I came away as an adult learning many valuable lessons about life and destruction of the self, about love and about myself. I learnt about rejection and lose too.
I will always make our pancakes on pancake day and always any other day too because it’s something I love to do and just the smell of cinnamon and sugar takes me back to being a 7 year old little girl again.
I haven’t seen uncle L since then. I have heard that he now has a lovely wife and children and that makes me happy because I think he is probably the most amazing father and his children so very lucky.
I’m now in tears just because sometimes memories bring on all sorts of strong emotions, equally lovely and equally intense. I can picture their house still so vividly I could show you around the whole place and tell you what I did while I was there with two of my favourite people in the world at that time of my life.
I hope for my children to have these beautiful memories with their family members as they grow up and I hope they always know how truly lucky they are to have each person they have. Because even if they may see them for just a small time it can be such a meaningful time.
Memories are priceless. Forever integrated into me, and you, and all of us.