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Protein Waffles


By Barbara Steinhauser Published 12 days ago 2 min read
Top Story - November 2023
Protein Waffles
Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

1. You stand in the bathroom curling your hair and talking to your college BFF in Massachusetts. You want to look beautiful on your 32nd birthday. To get this day right despite a week of disappointment. Mom pops her head around the doorframe looking anxious. Oh god, she’s probably whipped up some healthy breakfast concoction, knowing you are out of the house the rest of the day. She is your Mom. She’s the reason you are here to celebrate this day. But 32 years is a long time to feel indebted and grateful. To play the subservient game you perfected at age eight. To watch Mom shrink your lululemon, pick fat free steak for dinner and pair it with whatever organic Pinot she’s craving. To make sarcastic comments to your daughter -her grand daughter- when she won’t eat her vitamins or blueberries. “Thirty-two could be transforming,” her former roomie says. One thing is certain; it’s a hell of a long time to live at home with Mom and Dad.

2. He sits at the far end of the table, away from the sugarfree concoction his wife has created: plain yogurt with those puckering sour blueberries even he avoids and he’s been called a garbage truck. All that smothered atop dry protein waffles, dribbled with pure Vermont maple syrup. It’s a breakfast for anyone but the birthday girl. It’s the kind of breakfast his wife probably wants to eat but can’t, with her gluten allergy. He groans. She’s done it again, his wife. Foisted dietary obligations on the kid that compromise her taste buds. The blowup won’t happen today. Not on her birthday, when mothers are integral. No, one morning this week, their daughter will pack her kid an unacceptable snack and Grandma will say something snarky. Then, all hell will break loose. Thank God for man caves.

3. She tosses and turns, mulling over what she might do to improve on her daughter’s week. A few hours and it will be her 32nd birthday; how could she be so ill-prepared? This child has brought nothing but unexpected moments, from the day she was born. The speed of that child’s birth: 45 minutes start to finish. She’d felt plugged into an electric socket. Sometimes she still vibrates with the loss of it. She must come up with something brilliant. She must. Something to shutdown all those critics at the studio. Something her child will brag about, that shows just how much her amazing daughter is loved and cherished by her Mom, if no one else. What does she have in the fridge? Protein waffles, plain yogurt, maple syrup, blueberries… a little sour but they will add color, texture and vitamin C. And a candle, of course! One of those sparking, exploding candles leftover from the grand’s big 1-0 in September. Oh God… An electric plug once vibrated between them. Now, there remained barely a quiver.


About the Creator

Barbara Steinhauser

MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults

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Comments (10)

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  • Healty Life9 days ago

    i love the way you write, literally you inspire me, can you please read my story and tell me on how i can improve, thanks inadvance

  • Phil Wright10 days ago

    Nice story...

  • Hannah Moore11 days ago

    This is really touching, I feel for the mother/grandmother character, but I also recognise I am often the other two.

  • Cathy holmes12 days ago

    Very nicely done. Congrats on the TS

  • Steven12 days ago

    Intresting post

  • Naveed12 days ago

    Well done! Keep pushing forward with your excellent work—congrats!

  • Mr Ahsan12 days ago

    Brilliant story ending. The way you describe is outstanding. Congrats on top story

  • Mackenzie Davis12 days ago

    I echo Catherine. This is so creatively told, from all sides. I feel the MC suffocating with the desire to please so many people, yet knowing she will ultimately fail because of their own perceptions. Also, those breakfast items are doing a lot of fantastic metaphor work here. 👏💜

  • Catherine Dorian12 days ago

    Barbara, what a brilliant, cyclical exposé of the sometimes harrowing expectations around birthdays -- for all parties involved! Beautifully done. I'm subscribing!

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