My A-to-Z Challenge word for today is “Unbroken.”
I had envisioned that this day would be difficult—my first day alone without my brother and without my mom. But my stepsister, Holley, had different plans.
About 15 years ago, my stepsisters realized their lives were getting way too busy and they were not staying as connected to their dad (my stepfather) as often as they wished, even though he lived just a few miles away from each of them. So, the three of them carved out one morning a week to meet for breakfast at a local dive, Uncle Bill’s Diner, that had just opened up.
For about 5 years, they’d meet up at 7:00am the same day each week at the unassuming little diner. The same waitresses would serve them, and Uncle Bill would cook up their meals. They soon discovered fellow patrons who were meeting there regularly as well, particularly, a retired police officer named Tommy who would always dine at the next table and share jokes and tall tales with my stepdad.
Ten years ago, when my stepdad died, my mom and stepsisters decided to carry on the weekly breakfasts. A small, but significant, way to ensure that our two families stayed “connected.” Soon, Holley’s husband Mike, began joining the gatherings as he was now the eldest patriarch.
My stepsisters’ mom started attending as well. She and my mom had always been amicable to each other (even while my stepdad was alive). But now that he was gone, they became even closer friends and would often go shopping together after the weekly breakfasts.
I joined these family breakfasts only rarely. A 10-mile, jam-packed expressway sat between my house and the diner, and as I often worked late nights, I preferred not to wake up that early to do that ugly drive. But, a few times, I’d set my alarm and make an exception, and would always tell myself afterwards that I should more diligently reserve the time each week to continue joining them.
Now that my mom is gone, the circle is once again changing. With no present work commitments (due to my Leave of Absence), my priority is to attend this family breakfast each week instead.
The same waitresses were still there today to serve our meals. Tommy, the retired cop, was still at his table next to ours telling jokes. I sat in my mom’s old seat and had a great hour sharing a fruit plate and catching up with the family.
The circle remains unbroken.