Blueberry Pancakes on the Day of your Birthday

“Blueberry Pancakes are perfect for breakfast and brinner. And if you want to skip ahead, scroll down to the recipe because this is a long post!”

No one told me that you would ever be 25. No one told me that each year on August 24th, I would continue to have labor pains as I do every day, even though I never did; thanks to a C-section. (What a long sentence.). No one told me how each year could pass and I would continue to be awestruck at your beauty and grace. (Yes, you too Alex.) No one told me that as time passes I seem to miss you more and more. Yes, I know I was supposed to give you wings; and I was supposed to give you roots, so you could grow. I did. You did.


No one told me that I would be in awe when I first gazed at you. No one told me that I would finally understand the precious gift of life until I felt you and held you and yes-gazed at you. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. I was afraid to touch you for fear I might break that magic spell called love. From that day on, you were always with me. Even now when you both live on separate continents, I feel your pain. Your gain. Your love. I would jump oceans to protect you. To love you. To wipe your tears and share your joys.

No one told me that you would ever be 25 and that I would get older. Just like no one told me to give away your baby clothes. I didn’t. They are still buried in the crawl space, hopefully in memorable condition. No one told me that I would remember the pink and white velour sleeper or the watermelon outfit or the red cowboy dress that you adored, Zoe. Or that zebra leggings and leopard shoes seem to suit you and still do. And your nikky; your precious little blankie that Grandma crocheted for you. Should we tell her that you still sleep with it and have a little box that holds all the yarn that falls off of it?

No one told me Alex, that cute boys clothes were so hard to find, but I did. And no one told me that I’d never forget how much my boy loved his sweaters. That even on the hottest day in the summer, you would wear your sweater and not want to take it off; because it was so soft, Mom. And now today you probably don’t even own a sweater, but you do have a blue and purple checked shirt, because purple is your favorite color.

No one told me that my  crawl space would fill with countless children’s books and stuffed animals. And yes, Beanie babies. I don’t think you will ever get rich off of those. I saved your cowboy sheets Alex, because I know they will come back into vogue and they were so cute and hard to find. No one told me Zoe,  that I would adore your bedroom more than my own, and that I can’t bear to dismantle it. I love it so much. No one told me how when I’m upset I’d crawl onto your bed and comfort myself with the stuffed animals that are still left on it and feel at peace with a tree branch over my head and flowers on my back.

No one told me that my boy would ask for a world for his 5th birthday. No one told me  how to get him a world. I figured the  the best I could do would be to show it to him, which was all right with me. Then I  found out that all he wanted was a globe and that made it  much easier. It is still downstairs on his desk, but oh boy, did he discover the world. No one told me that he would be living in Shanghai and how I blame Manservant for that. And no one told me that my daughter would stay in Philly after college and become an economist. No one told me, but I know one day they will both come home. Yes, wings fly in both directions and know no boundaries.

No one told me that I would love the noise of children and miss the noise of teenagers and that I would thrive on the chaos and the clamor that a good family has. No one told me that I would miss the driving, the sports, the snow days, school and sick days and the summer. Those vacation days of swimming  and tennis and staying out late playing neighborhood games. The bike rides, the library, and camp. I’ve never seen such filthy clothes that came home. No one told me to throw them away, but I did.

No one told me that each year on your birthday I used to dread giving two birthday parties. It was work, but worth it. I think it wasn’t the party I didn’t like, it was all the gifts. I never knew what to do with them all. No one told me that I would ever bake two cakes, but I did. You always chose chocolate cake and Ilse’s cake and every now and then we’d get an ice cream cake. No one told me that it would be a pain having your birthday right when school started. No one told me how much I’d miss having family around to celebrate it with. But we made our own family and now you have both.

No one told me that I’d love making your favorite foods for your birthday feast and how it would be fun to see each year what you would come up with. I think it evolved from spaghetti to linguini with clam sauce to finally a big grilled steak.  No one told me how fun it was celebrating with you at new restaurants and how even as toddlers, people always exclaimed how good you were. I think it goes back to the fact that it was hard to take two babies anywhere, so when we did you were a bit like Geordie. Tugging at the leash, so to speak, and just happy to be out of the house.

No one told me that I would love taking vacations with you. Yes, it took a lot of planning but I loved seeing the world through your eyes. Your eyes made everything look sunnier even when you used to get motion sickness from flying or driving. Yes, Alex. remember Independence Pass? And Zoe, I’m not sure that the LAX international terminal floor will ever be the same.

No one told me that having children could be so easy and so hard at the same time. No one told me that at 25 you can be so smart, but not yet wise. No one told me that you can have the world in your palm and not know it.  No one told me that you’d end up a little bit like me and a little bit like Dad. No one told me that. But I’m sure you got most of the good things from me. No one told me you’d end up blonde and blue eyed Zoe, and that Alex would have an incredible smile and green eyes and more body hair than King Kong.

No one told me how much you’d fight in high school and how I yearn for the day that you feel close together again. Maybe you do and I don’t know it, but it is hard to feel close when we are all so far apart. No one told me how important it is to remain close to family. No one told me that I’d be constantly reminding you that when I’m dead and gone, that all you will have is each other as family. So treat each other accordingly. Please.

No one told me that every time you leave I’d get a big lump in my throat and wonder when the next time I see you will be. No one told me that I’d get a big lump in my throat when you first arrive.No one told me that when the nights start getting cooler and the crickets start chirping, that it will soon be your birthday. And no one told me that on the day of your B’nai Mitzvah we would be having monsoon weather.

No one told me that you would be 25 and I would be older. No one told me that I would miss you. No one told me how each day I am proud to say you are my children. No one told me I’d have two perfect kids on the same day. No one told me how fast time flies. No one told me how gorgeous you would become inside and out. No one told me not to take each day for granted, but the truth is I never did. Each day with you has been a gift and sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve you both.


So today, on your 25th birthday, I wish you all the joy and love that a mother can wish for her children. I also wish that you have the strength to make it through the hard times, but I know you do, And one day I hope you experience the miracle of having two incredible kids in your life. Though not necessarily at the same time. And you could always have more.

No one told me what a journey life would be and that I’d never have to leave home to experience it. No one told me that it would be so hard to give you wings and watch you fly. And no one told me how to give you roots, but I think we did.  No one told me that today we’d each be in 4 separate places but that we would think of each other in our own way. No one told me, but yes I believe those roots continue to hold us all in their grasp. They twist and they turn; they branch off in different directions, and grow thick with gnarly age, but they are there and for that I am grateful.

Happy Birthday, my children.

No chocolate cake or Ilse’s cake today. But these are some pretty good blueberry pancakes!

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (The Best!)
Serves 4-6 Makes about 12 pancakes
Time to Make: About 10 minutes to mix and 15 to cook
From: PopSugar (These really are the best!)

2 eggs
2 c buttermilk
1/2 c melted butter (cooled)
2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1-2 c fresh rinsed blueberries

Whisk eggs in a large bowl.  Then add buttermilk and cooled butter and whisk some more. Mix dry ingredients together and add to buttermilk mixture, mixing gently until just combined. There will still be lumps. Stir in blueberries.

In a large skillet melt about 1/2 t of butter over medium heat. Then add about 1/2 cup of batter and cook until bubbles form and pop. They are now ready to flip. Cook on the other side approximately another two minutes. Mine usually cook a bit faster. Keep pancakes in a warm oven set to about 200. Tent  with foil so they don’t dry out. Serve with butter and maple syrup and maybe some candles!

More of Alex and Zoe and some good food:

Green Chile Poached Eggs with Bacon
Shakshuka in Purgatory
Chocolate Lava Cake
Lemon Thyme Biscotti Crackers
Cookie Dough Cupcakes

And don’t forget to enter the Whole Foods $25 Giveaway!

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  • Carol at Wild Goose Mama
    September 3, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Damn! What a great post! I loved getting to know you and your kids—–and of course totally relating as a Mother.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      September 3, 2015 at 3:10 am

      Thanks Carol! Easy to relate, huh? Took me forever to write it though!

  • technology capitalists
    September 1, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I don't know what to say except no one could have done it better…. including not only writing about this occasion; but also, being the extraordinary mother and role model that you are to our kids. No one told me many of those things and more. It's a major milestone in our adventures together. No doubt there's many more secrets to discover and I'm glad that you're the one on the journey with me. Love you!

  • ZazaCook
    August 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    What a lovely post!!! And your blueberry pancakes are gorgeous! I am hungry, looking at them 🙂
    Happy birthday to your twins!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 27, 2015 at 2:22 am

      Thanks Zaza! The pancakes are pretty, but not as pretty as my kids, eh?! Thanks for the wishes!

  • Cheri Savory Spoon
    August 26, 2015 at 1:03 am

    Hi Abbe, what a beautiful tribute to your children, almost made me cry it was so sweet. Did not know that you have twins.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 27, 2015 at 2:21 am

      Thanks Cheri! It did make me cry. How did I get so old!

  • Liz Berg
    August 25, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Happy, happy birthday to your two dear children! Such a lovely tribute to how you gave them wings! They will do wonderful things with them. And your pancakes look marvelous!!! xo
    P.S. My kids always got sick way BEFORE Independence Pass. Poor Maddy was sitting between Tom and Katie when they both got sick. Fun memories?!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 27, 2015 at 2:21 am

      Poor, poor Maddy! Thanks Liz for the good wishes!

  • SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    August 24, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    What a sweet post, Abbe! I didn't know you had twins until now. I love all of the photos of them – cute indeed! I think all siblings must fight during high school. For us it was two girls fighting over who took a piece of clothing that wasn't theirs 🙂 Again and again. Happy Birthday to your two beautiful children and hope they get to eat some of the pancakes soon.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 27, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Thanks Susan! They still fought over clothing because she used to steal his shirts!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    August 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Really sweet! And very, very touching. Happy Birthday to your kids. Maybe I should have pancakes (blueberry, of course!) for dinner tonight. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Pancakes are great for dinner! And thanks for the good wishes, John!

  • Sippity Sup
    August 24, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    It's as if I'm hearing my own mother. You've brought a tear to my eye. GREG

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Good tears,right? Now wipe'em and get it together, Man! Thanks, Greg.

  • DeniseL
    August 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    What a sweet ode to your children 🙂 Happy birthday to both of them. t's my birthday today too!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Great day for birthdays, Denise. I hope you are making it a great one. Happy Birthday to you, too!

  • Pam
    August 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Nice touching post about your kids! My late mother was born on Aug 23rd 100 years ago, a good day for birthdays evidently! Pancakes look delicious!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Good memories, huh? They are a really good pancake. I like chocolate chips in them, too!

  • La Table De Nana
    August 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Awww..a truly beautiful post!
    Your twins are adorb..from the very beginning..
    How do we love thee? Let us count the ways.. nope..impossible..too many ways.
    This is Amour with le grand A.
    PS the pancakes are perfection.
    I find everything you show us..totally appetizing.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      So sweet, Monique! They still are adorb, aren't they? Photos are the hardest thing for me so I appreciate your kind words!

  • Adam J. Holland
    August 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    What a poignant essay. An enjoyable read. Happy Birthday to all three of you! 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Adam, that means a lot because I love what you write. Took forever to write it though and now my butt hurts!

  • Angie Schneider
    August 24, 2015 at 8:36 am

    What precious family photos! That black and white is my favourite, Abbe. You have two beautiful kids. Happy Birthday, Zoe, Alex!
    These blueberry pancakes look fantastic!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      I like that one too, Angie. This reminds me that I better start to get these photos in albums! Thanks!