Missing my Mom’s Cookies
It’s the handwriting that does it.
As you read it, somehow they become real again, and you tell yourself there’s no way someone so real could be gone.
I’m doing much better than last year. I think it was right before Thanksgiving when I saw the end caps at the grocery store piled with yellow and brown shinny bags of chocolate chips, white jars of marshmallow cream, flat bags of powdered sugar and boxy ones of flour. It hit me so hard. My Mom wasn’t baking cookies for me that year. I looked around the store, and everybody was busy buying stuff, and no one even noticed. I almost had a panic attack. My mind jumped to that house far away that I had known all my life, and thought of the empty oven, no longer warm from baking cookies – cookies for me. How much I had taken it for granted that my Mom would always stock pile more baking supplies than she needed, and bake more cookies than we could eat.
Her cookies were always so pretty, tidy and festive. (The exact opposite of mine.) I always told her she baked too much, that she didn’t have to go to all that trouble. Did I remember to tell her how pretty I thought they were? Did I remember to tell her how comforted and nurtured I felt when I saw the plates of green Christmas trees with sprinkles, the chocolate buckeyes, the peanut blossoms with Hershey Kisses? Did I even realize then much those cookies meant to me?
I’ve listened and read stories about all those people who were clinically dead, and came back to life. They all say they were given a choice to either stay or come back. Sometimes I wonder if my Mom thought about how sad I’d be at Christmas, without her cookies, when she made her choice to go.
But I’m doing much better this year. So much better that I actually pulled out her recipe card collection, which includes some of her Mother’s recipe cards, and I made a few of her recipes. I tried to think about how she did it. I’m sure she had pain and sorrow too, but that didn’t stop her from making pretty cookies for us every year. I think it was the hard work of making the cookies that kept me from getting all teary-eyed.
The result? They taste good, but they’re not as pretty as hers. How did she do it?