Thursday, January 17, 2013

Donuts and Homemaking

My Mom asked me, out of the blue, to write a new post here. I haven't thought about it for a long time so when I got the request I thought, why not?

Theo just had his third birthday. Here are some photos. We've stuck to the "supply toys and balloons" method for parties and so far it has worked, though next year may require a bit more than that. Everyone had a great time.

After a doctor's appointment that went particularly well, I decided to reward Theo with a stop at a donut shop. I don't think we've ever done it before, though we have picked up donuts for a MOMS Club meeting or two. No, this was a new thing for him. He got to tap the glass at the donut he wanted (white icing with blue sprinkles), I got my usual favorite, double chocolate (sprinkles are incidental, they never seem to sell them without), I got a large milk for us to split and we sat by the window to watch the traffic go by.

My Mom was already on my mind from her request earlier but as soon as we had stepped into the place I felt the familiar flashbacks I always get in donut shops. (If I've told the story before, forgive me, I'm really not sure if I have or haven't.)

Up until I was about 5 1/2 we lived in a cute little house in Glendale. Mom stayed home with me and my baby brother who was born when I was four. We only had one car at the time which of course Dad took to work. Mom didn't have a driver's license anyway. Among my earliest memories are days where we walked to the local shops or the nearby blue mailbox. On big outing days we'd go to the Glendale Galleria, our seemingly massive local mall, all brick and late 70's architecture. I couldn't say what we bought there as I wasn't interested in that part. What I remember is that we nearly always got a treat for making the trip - either an Orange Julius or a Winchell's donut. I loved both, but when you went to Winchell's, you'd sit at one of their tables and have a good view of the Galleria clock.

And here it is. Don't you just love the internet? I was pretty fascinated by this thing.

I'd eat my devil's food donut (that's what Winchell's called chocolate with chocolate icing, no sprinkles) with a little carton of milk and Mom would have a coffee and donut and most probably get a nice mental break as I zoned out looking at the clock.

It's so different for me now, I thought to myself today as I brushed sprinkles off of Theo's shirt. I drive all over Orange County. The Galleria was a 20 minute walk each way, while pushing two kids in a stroller that wasn't designed for two. We get food at restaurants a lot and Theo knows the drill. The snack at the mall was a special treat every time.

Winchell's really was better, by the way. I'm so sorry they left our area. Every time I see a shop with that triangular sign filled in with some generic name, it makes me sad.

Even so, I still get flashbacks whenever I go into a donut shop and smell that lovely sweet smell. Just me and mom and my baby brother making our way through our day. That same feeling I get doing my stay-at-home thing with my son. That need to stop and refresh and feel good about the small accomplishments of the day. We may not frequent a particular shop or a particular snack but we do seek out that moment of rest. If there's an awesome clock or fountain or other fixture to look at, then it's just icing on the donut.