I don’t need cookies. But some days I need to bake them. Like the other day, when I was babysitting my two year old grand and wanted to make a memory with her. I had an abundance of peanut butter, so they became the cookie of choice.
I took out my mama’s most beloved cookbooks and looked up the recipe in both. These were the cookbooks I remembered Mama using my whole childhood. The ones falling apart and taped together, with worn pages that had torn through the holes that held them in place.
I looked through them gingerly, these almost sacred artifacts of the past. These books that sing stories to me of Mama young and healthy and laughing. These books that bring back the sweet scents of cookies fresh from the oven and Mama, rosy and smiling, saying, “Wait until they cool a bit.”
I remember standing on a chair at the counter, helping mix up cookies. So, I help my granddaughter stand on a chair by me, and she delights in trying to grab each measuring cup and spoon from me before I quite have it filled. She gleefully drops each measured spoon and cup full into the mixing bowl. And then energetically stirs with my grandma’s big wooden spoon, flipping cookie dough out of the bowl in the process.
I roll the dough into balls and she keeps rearranging them on the cookie sheet. I take a fork from my childhood days, and show her how to press the dough ball down. She pokes at the balls eagerly. I wonder to myself what I was like “helping” Mom when I was two years old.
I looked in my china hutch and found a plate Mama gave me when she still had her memories. She said it was one of her mama’s plates. I think she said it came in a big bag of oatmeal. I know she said some of their dishes did.
I put the cookies I baked, using Mama’s recipe, on the plate that belonged to Grandma. We ate some while they were fresh and still slightly warm. They don’t look as good as Mama’s cookies did. They don’t taste quite as good as I remember Mom’s either. But there is something satisfying in tangibly seeing this connection to Mama’s past.
Something about this plate of cookies makes my memories of Mom and Grandma more vivid. I can picture them sitting at the table with me now, eyes sparkling, nibbling cookies, laughing and talking about recipes and grandchildren and life.
I wonder how many cookies they baked with their own children, and then with their grandchildren. Now they are together in Heaven. But I feel their presence. I sense their smile. “It’s your turn now!” is the message I hear.
Carry on the legacy! Love your family well. Treasure your grands. Pray for them and love them and teach them about Jesus. Tell them about their Great-Grandma and Great-Great Grandma. Read to them, laugh with them, sing with them, dance with them.
And don’t forget the cookie baking. The memories are worth the mess.
I don’t need cookies. But somedays I need to bake them.
Thank you for this sweet reminder. I was just thinking about the holidays without momma. It’s very surreal and raw/new as my momma left for heaven 11 days ago. Your posts have helped me more than you will ever know. It has been very comforting to read about someone’s journey that has been there done that too. I miss momma but I do not miss dementia. I never realized how much of my brain was locked in with my caretaker role vs daughter role. The what ifs…..what if she falls, what ER do I not want her to go to again, what if she has to stay in hospital, what if she must go to nursing home again….what nursing home……on and on….And I would do it all over again because my mom deserved the best I could give her. Figuring out the puzzle pieces for each and every crisis or potential crisis took a toll on all of us, and especially on mom. I’ve savored many memories spent with momma BD (before dementia) by looking at all the photos of her life. I have taken time the last few days , between writing thank you cards for the funeral, and just staying still. I’ve listened to my own heart beat while watching the fire in the fireplace. This long journey was hard, very hard, right up to the moment she left to be with Jesus. I want you to know how thankful I am for your willingness to share your journey with your precious momma. Blessings to you!
Tammy, I’m so sorry to hear about the recent loss of your momma. I totally relate with your description of it being surreal and raw. I also connect with your saying, “I miss momma but I do not miss dementia.” All the stress and worry and decisions related to doing what’s best for our mothers was a heavy responsibility for sure. How wise of you to take time to stay still and listen to your heartbeat. (You word things so beautifully — do you have a blog of your own?)
I’m so thankful to hear that my posts have helped you! Thank you for taking time to share some of your story with me and for letting me know mine has had meaning for you. That blesses me more than you know! May God give you grace in this time of grieving, and peace knowing you loved your momma well. Blessings to you, too!
I do not have a blog, even though I do like to write. I’m a graphic artist by trade, and I love creating on our church website! The last 20+ yrs have been spent educating myself in managing our family farm. In our spare time, my amazing husband and I, have attempted to raise these 6 children…..oops guess they are young adults now!!! Somewhere around the twins moving out to attend college, football, flags, and falls, (momma was such an independent soul, and if you didn’t keep an eye on her she would try to ….okay I’ll admit it… 3 years ago we were celebrating my birthday, and momma decided to go downstairs to visit her cat we had absconded from her house so she wouldn’t trip and fall…yep! I kid you not, I stepped outside for a break in my sanity……..the next thing I know is I have a traumatized teenager screaming, Grandma just fell down the stairs!!!!!!) yes, this is when God showed me your blog! I think it was specifically during one of our many trips to the wound clinic……I could watch paint dry, or I could scan social media for a good blog! God knew just what I needed! Someone that could describe, and touch my life with her stories. God’s Grace and Mom’s Alzheimer’s……perfect timing just perfect!
God knew what I needed, too! I’m having a challenging week for several reasons. One reason is caring for my 95 year old mother-in-law, who lives with us and has Alzheimer’s. She wouldn’t get out of bed this morning and murmured through barely opening lips that she was dying. Of course my husband had just left for a staff retreat and didn’t have his ringer turned on his phone, so I called him for half an hour before he answered and turned around. He thought she was maybe dying too, she was so convincing! We prayed for her, took her vitals (which seemed fine) and called her doctor. By the time her doctor returned the call she was up, showered and done with breakfast, acting just perfectly normal. But it was so scary for an hour or so! We think God answered prayers, and/or she was just really tired and dramatic. She has seemed happy and fine the rest of the day here!
But in the midst of this stressful week and day, it was such a heartwarming blessing to read your encouraging words! Thank you! And you should consider writing a blog or something– I can tell you are gifted! Thanks for sharing God’s grace with me! He is so good!
The last two weeks with my mom were very similar to your day today. Mom would sleep for 24-36 hours then get up like normal. One day she had almost perfect memory and later that night she was moaning. You know how this goes from experience. I will pray for your situation this evening. Keep writing because I suspect God reveals so much as you write and helps you find peace in the storm. 💛
You suspect so rightly. Thank you, Tammy!
Great memories and good looking cookies.