Monday, November 14, 2022

"The Recipe On The Box"

 I am making chocolate chip cookies.  

My Mom's recipe.

She would say it's the recipe "on the box" but, truth is, 

it's been tweaked here and there so many times

by her baking hands that it no longer resembles the one "on the box".

(I'm not even sure what "box" it is anymore!)

I really didn't have plans to bake anything today.  

No reason to, really.

I had cleaned up lunch dishes, and although I had Christmas boxes of decorations spread

in various places around my house, 

I thought of chocolate chip cookies.

Mom's chocolate chip cookies.

I took out the recipe (although I really can do it by heart)

 to find a very used and tattered card.  

Things had spilt on it over the years and obviously been wiped away leaving 

just a stain in remembrance.  

It brought some comfort somehow.

I measured out (I don't normally do this :) the ingredients 

and listened to the whirl of the mixer

making the yummy goodness right before my eyes.  

I wanted to get these right.  I didn't want these to be one of my 

"we'll see how they turn out" batches.

I wanted them to be like mom's.  

I stopped at the idea of counting out the 5 chocolate chips for each cookie. 

Yes, it's true, she always did that.  A product of making money stretch for so many years.

 I didn't do that today but it did make me smile just thinking of it.

It's at this point, right before they went into the oven, that I realized what I was doing.

I wanted my mom back.  At 65 years old, I wanted my mom back.

I had had hard conversations all morning regarding her care.

She's in an assisted living facility with my dad.  (They just recently had a 70 year anniversary)

She has dementia.

I think over these last so many years, I had already mourned the loss of my mom-

at least the mom as I knew her -

and in the last couple years had really been able to see the humor

 in some of the situations

that dementia presents itself.

She was a different person, yes,  but still enjoyed life and added so much to ours. 

That's changed recently after a few falls that have broken bones.

New decisions to be made.  

Decisions you don't want to make for the people that have always been the ones you run to..

the ones you looked to for wisdom in hard situations..

the ones that were YOUR rock.

And now they aren't.  

It's all shifted and the world feels a bit crazy...

But, for a bit, as I mixed the ingredients of the cookies, I saw my mom's hands.

And as I took a bite of the dough, I heard my mom ask if I wanted to lick off the beaters.

And when I closed my eyes and took a bite of that first warm cookie out of the oven

it felt like I was in my long ago home. 

And all was right with the world for a minute.  

I savored that minute.

I wish my sisters were closer and we could all sit around my table eating warm cookies

and talking about our memories -

laughing and even crying as we reminisce

But finishing, ALWAYS finishing, 

with how blessed we are to have had the mom we've had 

and the mom we have.

Thursday, I'll take her some chocolate chip cookies.