You’ve probably heard of many traditions over the years. Some are religious in nature, some have to do with family, but I doubt any involve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, my friends, that is all about to change. Tomorrow marks a very significant day for me, as I will be getting the key to my next home. My actual move-in date is Friday, but tomorrow evening I will be dining on PB&J’s as I start the process of creating new memories in a new place.
I didn’t just choose this childhood delicacy randomly, but rather I specifically chose to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to continue my tradition of celebrating my independence. This all stemmed from the fantastic 80’s movie, St. Elmo’s Fire.
Many of you may be unfamiliar with this movie, but it is one I highly recommend. It features the brat pack – Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, & Mare Winningham. It was a scene with Mare Winningham, who played Wendy, which started this whole thing back in 2012. Wendy was the daughter of rich parents. Her problem was that they wanted to run her life. When she finally stood up to them, they cut her off financially. This meant she had to learn to fend for herself for the first time ever. She managed to get herself her own apartment without the aid of her family. One night Billy, played by Rob Lowe, came by to see her. As they’re talking, Wendy says,
“Yeah…ya wanna know what’s great? Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…and ya know, it was my kitchen, it was my refrigerator, it was my apartment…and it was the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have had in my entire life.”
This scene was burned into my brain. When I finally moved into my very own place for the first time ever back in 2012, something about this quote came to the forefront of my mind. After all, I had gone from living with my parents, to college roommates, to being married, but never during that time did I live alone for a significant amount of time. That all changed once I got divorced and moved out on my own.
When that happened, I had to find a way to support myself. I had to learn that, despite the fact that I had (and still have) an INCREDIBLE family, I needed to be able to stand on my own two feet. There was a lot of fear that came with that discovery, but there was also an immense sense of accomplishment with every milestone I reached. THAT is why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches serve as a powerful symbol of strength and a reminder of what I’ve accomplished on my own. This is one tradition I’m proud to continue and will do so with each bite.