The other day, my kids requested Frosted Flakes with Cookie Crisp and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This is a bad idea on so many levels. First, can we say SUGAR? And SUMMER VACATION=HOME ALL DAY WITH ME? And uh, SUGAR?! Not to mention, the insane combination. I mean, Cookie Crisp with Cocoa puffs, I could see. Sugar Smacks with Pops, okay. But corn, chocolate, and cinnamon? Gross. They begged. I refused. They pleaded. I stood firm. They looked up at me with glistening eyes and said puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzz mommy???? while clasping their hands in angelic prayer. I caved.
I guess I should explain my absolute abhorrence to mixed cereal. When I was younger, my grandmother watched me while my mom was at work. My grandmother’s cooking is something of legend in our family. She was…creative. My cousins and I have fond memories of her spaghetti with ketchup and how no matter what time of day, if you were hungry, she would always offer you scrambled eggs. And only scrambled eggs.
Anyway, oddly enough, I don’t ever remember having scrambled eggs for breakfast at Mami Zoila’s. Instead, my grandmother would give me cereals. That’s not a typo. She gave me cereals, meaning I had a bowl of cornflakes, fruit puffs, and cocoa rings all in one bowl. I don’t ever remember requesting this medley and actually, I really hated the taste of mixed cereal, but I never told my grandmother because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings or be disrespectful, so I ate it, always wondering why, why, why not just one or the other.
Did she think that cornflakes were too boring so she sweetened them up with the other cereal? Did she think perhaps this would make the whole cereal eating experience more enjoyable? Did she feel bad that the cereal was ususally generic and thought this would give it more appeal? Or, perhaps, the more likely and rational explanation—My mind has latched on to the few times my grandmother did this when she got to the bottom of a couple of boxes of cereal and there wasn’t enough of either for a full bowl so she mixed it up.
Probably that, last one, but I guess that’s how memories work. And I guess that’s how life works, too. Things have a way of connecting and returning and coming back full circle. And as my kids slurped away on their concoction, congratulating themselves for coming up with the best idea ever!, I thought of how interesting it is that somehow the seemingly unpleasant comes back in a new light.