Yesterday my 3-year-old granddaughter came over with her mother (daughter #1) so that we could make cookies together. Although I am one of those obnoxious grandparents who think their grandchild can do anything, I really underestimated princess granddaughter, E. I bought slice and bake cookies as well as these newfangled cookies that already come in dough circles that just have to be baked. Once cooled, you frost them with the enclosed vanilla frosting and slap on an edible picture with a snowman or reindeer. I figured that this would be all a 3-year-old could handle. I was so wrong!

My daughter, K, also brought over some slice and bake sugar cookie dough in the tube, but instead of slicing the dough (the easy way), she let E roll out the dough with the big rolling pin, cut it out with cookie cutters, and when cooled, decorate the cookies to her heart's content with colored sugar, frosting, and other assorted decorations. They are the ugliest cookies you ever saw. Sort of like Monet on drugs. But E had the time of her life making them.

By the time we were done baking the kitchen was well dusted with flour from top to bottom, bits of cookie crumbs crunched underfoot, every toy E keeps here was strewn throughout the first floor and it took over an hour to clean everything up. It was wonderful. But had this happened 25 years ago I would have been completely frazzled and I would probably have thrown away the ugly cookies as evidence of my imperfect mothering.

When my girls were little I was too busy worrying about where I'd find the time to clean the house, wrap the presents, hang the decorations, and shop for food to be ready for Christmas to spend any time baking with my own girls, creatinglasting memories that we could share now and laugh about. The older generation of women would tell me how I should enjoy the little moments, that they passed too fast. But my ears didn't hear. I raced to get ahead, encouraged my daughters to be "big girls" and did everything myself. I worried about getting it all done, and not just done, but done to a certain standard. Oh, to turn back the clock!

The new me is making an effort to remind myself that the present is all I have. I watch my daughter doing just what I did when I was a young mother but she often makes time for fun, too. When I hear E sing "Jingle Bells" it makes me want to weep because I want to go back and do it all over. I would do it right. I'd appreciate the little things: the messy kitchen, the giggles, the frosting kisses. I'd take time to play more and work less.

I once had a framed cross-stitch picture that hung on the wall. I stitched every stitch myself and thought the verses well said:

"I hope that my children look back on today, and see a mom who had time to play.
There will be years ahead for cleaning and cooking, for children grow up while we're
not even looking."

I should have paid more attention. Anybody want a purple and green cookie with sprinkles? It's a gingerbread man with one leg, but it's perfect.


RW said...

They're NOT ugly. They're great! It's just I can't eat them because they're too many POINTS!

Carlton said...

I always think purple and green are excellent colours for food. Especially together.