What a Pancake Can Do

I just threw a pancake across the kitchen, and my husband caught it on his plate. The sticky syrup helped snag it. He laughed and said, “Now that’s flair.”

We have a Saturday morning pancake ritual. Many families in our neighborhood do. There’s something about all of the neighbors, nestled in their cozy kitchens, eating pancakes in their respective houses that triggers the flair sensor.

The pancake ritual connects me to my family and my neighbors. I’m thankful that I can expand my sense of family to include an entire neighborhood. Rituals are like that: they connect people. We have a great neighborhood, but we didn’t always feel so connected.

This year, we put some rituals in place. We have a walking to school ritual, an evening bike riding and jump rope ritual, and a monthly potluck ritual. These patterns bind us together and create a wonderful community.

My sociologist friend (the same one who learned the “Beat It” moves in my kitchen with me) talks about the importance of ritual in relationships and in larger communities. Rituals are the mark of connectedness; they are sacred spaces that unite people. So when I’m drinking coffee with my husband at the same time every morning (7:00 AM—the kids are running around getting backpacks packed and teeth brushed), I feel close to him, secure, and connected. Our family rituals like dinner time questions, reading before bedtime, church on Sunday morning, or any host of regular, predictable events make us feel settled. In fact, if we try to change a family ritual, the kids will say, “But Mom, it’s tradition.”

So my flair for today is flipping pancakes with my family. I used to think that flair needed to be unique and unpredictable each day. But this morning, I realized the flair in the regular routine. The fact that it’s regular (same time, same ritual) makes it flair.

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