We slide into the diner booth, scooting along the faux leather benches as our server hands us an impossibly large menu. My husband sits next to me and my dad in the seat across from us. Going to a place like this reminds me of my childhood. I grew up in New Jersey where diners are about as common as Starbucks in the Chicago suburbs. There's one on every corner, each with giant, plastic-covered menus showcasing all kinds of omelettes, skillets, French toast, crepes, sandwiches, and anything else you could possibly think to eat for breakfast or lunch.
I scan the menu as we catch up about my husband’s job and my dad’s new house. I try to keep the conversation light, but my heart feels heavy—maybe even a little guilty. Having my dad and stepmom in town is a gift, but over the last week I’ve been so weary that I feel like I’ve missed out on being with them. I take another sip of my coffee and internally lament the fact that my stepmom had to stay home with my kids just so I could have a few minutes of uninterrupted conversation with my dad.
Our plates arrive, and we drizzle on syrup and request refills of coffee. My dad looks at me and asks the question I hoped to avoid. “How are you doing? Really?”
It’s the “really” that gets me. The addition of that little word tells me I can’t get away with a scripted answer. My emotions sit too close to the surface, and any effort to hide them proves futile.
Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs.
Read the full essay and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs.