Last week, Luisa and I spent two days taking everything out of our basement in preparation for some work we are having done this month. We went through everything that had been stored down there, making piles to donate, to throw away, and to sell. My mother was a minimalist and I take after her in that respect, so, my mantra was, "We have to make hard choices." Luisa let go of the boxes of National Geographic magazines she'd saved and we boxed up the Legos and Playmobil sets and made peace with selling the vintage formica children's table where our little ones had snacked on Cheerios and scribbled on papers that we filed away as art.
As we carried and sorted, I came across my mother's waffle iron and knew that it was time to throw it away. So, I took a breath and put it in the pile to take to the dump and later that day, I stood at the transfer station near a giant pile labeled "METALS" and said a silent "Thank you" before hurling it into the pile. We have to make hard choices.
Since February when it was clear the waffle iron wasn't working anymore, I had been researching new ones and none of them seemed quite right. I looked at some that were similar to my mother's and at some that were completely different but I couldn't decide and choosing the right waffle iron seemed too important to be rash. But once the old waffle iron was gone, it was easy - Zeca wanted square waffles (instead of the round ones made on the old iron) and I wanted something easy to clean. I chose the new waffle iron without hesitation.
Summer is drawing to a close and the kids are back in school which means it's waffle season at our house. So, on Monday, I used the new waffle iron for the first time. It's bigger and takes more batter but has actual settings to fiddle with and it beeps when the waffles are done. The first waffles overflowed a bit, the next waffles were too light, and then everything came out just right.
As the kids ate their giant square waffles, I felt nothing but gratitude for my mother's gift and appreciation that, after her death, she left us with a new tradition. We may no longer have her old waffle iron but we will always have waffles.