Friday, January 16, 2015

"This I Believe: Mac and Cheese" by Jaiden

This December, Advanced Composition students studied, wrote, and recorded audio essays. Students wrote and recorded their own "This I Believe" essays inspired by the weekly This I Believe Podcast. While we're publishing the text of each essay below, we strongly encourage you to listen to each student's audio essay for a more intimate experience

As I grew up, I bounced from my mother's house to my father's house. Every other weekend I was shipped off to my father's house. Being an introvert, it was a very hectic and annoying schedule for me. I didn't like to leave the comfort of my home. My parents have been separated since I was three, so I was used to the constant moving. On the weekends that I was with my father, he sensed my hostility. He did everything he could to make me feel comfortable. Most of these things were extravagant. He wanted to go places every weekend. That didn't impress my young mind. I just wanted to stay indoors and play with toys.

Finally, my father gave up and he retreated to more modest ways. Every Saturday we would stay in his small, cramped apartment and watch a movie. Our favorites were Dumb and Dumber and anything that had Adam Sandler in it. To go along with our A1 movies, we had a 5-star meal. Usually, we ate mac and cheese or pizza. My dad was a very health-conscious man. Every time we were together we always knew that we were going to watch these movies with our special dinner. So, after a few weekends, we trademarked these acts as our own little routine.

When I was only 11, my father passed away. It changed my life completely. I went from a young happy child to someone that was fatherless. The mourning period was long and vicious, but while I was mourning, I went back to the routines that comforted me when he was alive. They made me feel secure. 

I believe in the power that routines have. By adding small routines to our daily lives we can become more comfortable with everything we do. When we come home we fall into our simple but important routines like taking off your shoes at the door, hanging up your keys, and changing from your work clothes. You can just feel the stress lift off of your shoulders, and that's how I felt every times I was with my father. These routines can make us feel safe and stress free. When I begin our routine, it feels like I get a giant hug from my father. I just feel safe.


While I was grieving after my father's death, I always went back to these routines. In a way, it felt like it sped up the entire grieving process. It made me feel like he was with me in spirit and this made me feel happy as I could be in that point and time in my life. Somehow, I could feel him laughing at the part in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels arrive to the hotel in ridiculous outfits. It just feels like his soul is trapped inside our routine, and that's good. It's amazing how something so small as a movie and a pot of mac and cheese made me feel so happy, and still continues to make me feel that way. After that, I knew why people called it comfort food. It just goes to show how much routines impact us. The smaller the routine, the larger the impact.

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