Traditions from the Heart #sol19
December 17, 2019
Every school day in December for the last ten years sans four last year when I honored my husband’s father, I’ve baked a batch of Christmas cookies and left them in our teacher workroom. With little ceremony, often just a stickie with the name of the cookie, I’ve dropped them without a backward glance. Sometimes I’ll pass the plate or the plastic container later in the morning and peek curiously to see how quickly they’ve been carried off by anxious hands.
I already know which ones will be gone before the first bell rings. I know the favorites of many of my colleagues and have searched for recipes of others tentatively whispered to me laced with memories of someone else’s treasured holiday memory.
I begin to hear the hopeful whispers in early November. Did you know she makes cookies every day in December? Just wait! I smile.
It’s what this act does for me that is the miracle. I stand in my kitchen glowing with the warmth of the oven and the shine of the overhead light my husband searched for and feel the love. The love of those present teachers who say, oh, that’s my favorite! The love of friends who ask if I will share my recipe, afraid I might not. I make the cookies as a gift to them for all the days we’ve shared and will share, for our shared purpose, for the home this school has become for me.
Perhaps they know that, but it’s so much more. Standing in that kitchen with my stand mixer that’s created so many batches of cookies, I’m surrounded by memories of other kitchens and other baked goods. I feel Saturday after Saturday with my family stealing cookie dough and sniffing deeply with the oven door opened waiting for a first bite. I feel shared young mother days with my husband’s sister and all the cousins making peanut butter cookies with kisses, sugar cookies, and spritz with the counters overflowing with sprinkles and hot chocolate. The air filled with great smells and laughter.
In that warmth, I feel my long gone mother baking Christmas stollen to be delivered to welcoming homes on Christmas Eve. In my heart, her generosity takes root and I feel what I know with certainty what she hoped to teach me, the immeasurable joy of giving, of creating joy for others.
I wish you could stop by my kitchen one of these nights. We would share a few recipes, bake together, share stories, and fill our hearts to overflowing. I feel you here right now.