Did you know tomorrow is National Donut Day? Donuts have always held a special place in my family’s heart. Mystical, you might even say.
I grew up in New England, where Dunkin Donuts are as ubiquitous as Starbucks and McDonalds. Driving through for a box of Munchkins was our way of celebrating, commiserating, or simply getting a sugar fix.
For my grandfather, the Dunk was also a neighborhood gathering place where he went to shoot the breeze, down a jelly donut with a coffee regular (it’s a Massachusetts thing), and read the newspaper. Always a neatly folded newspaper. At his memorial service, there was actually an entire Dunkin Donuts contingent who came to pay their respects, which made me feel better about sneaking a bag of Munchkins into his hand at the wake. It’s what he would have wanted.
When my parents moved to California in the mid-80s, we lost that donut connection, because Californians aren’t really that into donuts. They became a special occasion sort of thing, and with that excuse my mother made sure that when we got them, they weren’t just regular old donuts but those big chocolate slathered cream puff monstrosities. It was our homage to the past, comfort food for the sweets obsessed.
When Emmett was diagnosed with lymphoma, I bought him a doggie donut because, well, what else are you supposed to do. Enjoy your donuts while you can and party on. I took what to be a bit of an iconic photo that sort of defines this blog:
My son turned 9 yesterday, and as I was planning what treat he wanted to bring into school for his classmates, I asked him: “Cupcakes or popsicles?”
“Donuts,” he promptly replied. “OK,” I said, “you shall have birthday donuts.”
At 5 am on his birthday, he crawled into bed with me. “I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I’m just so excited about my birthday.”
At 5:30 on his birthday, my mother died.
And so we sat, dumbstruck, for a bit and attended to the things one must attend to, and then my dad and I sat on the bed side by side and said, “Now what are we supposed to do?”
So we went and got some !@#$ !#@!#@!# donuts.
So when I say I’m happy tomorrow is National Donut Day, I mean it. It is a day to not only eat a literal donut, which I hope you do, but to put aside the petty crap of who bought the best end of the school year gift and whether or not your net carbs are coming in under 30 grams, but to say,
“I AM EATING A DONUT BECAUSE I CAN AND I AM GOING TO ENJOY IT, DAMMIT.” Because one day, you might wish you had.
And if you want to make me smile, I would love if you- or your dog, or you and your dog*- have a donut in Pat’s honor tomorrow (or today, who cares) and share a photo of you enjoying it with me. We would both love that. And for every photo here, on Twitter, or Instagram with the #brainfood I will donate a dollar up to, I don’t know, $ 500, to the National Brain Tumor Society because Mom still had a lot of donuts left in her to enjoy, dammit, and two months was not nearly enough time to let her know that.
*And by donut for your dog, I mean dog treats shaped like donuts, or other your-dog-appropriate ring shaped goods