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.