Thursday, January 07, 2010

S is for Strength

Christmas was a fun time at the Rock House-- filled with family and fun and all of the traditional Christmastime activities.  I have always made cookies with the boys at Christmas-- the first time with a 2 year old and a newborn.  Sprinkles and frosting decorated more of the table and floor than the cookies (notice Pacey is squeezing the frosting directly onto the table), and I know they don't remember it, but to me, it was an important time because I had never made my grandma's press cookies on my own before.  It had always been a Christmastime ritual to go over to Grandma's house and decorate the trees, wreaths, poinsettias, and dog cookies with candied cherries and sprinkles.  Baking with Grandma was one of my favorite pastimes, and since that first foray into independent cookie baking, which went beyond press cookies even, I have baked her cookies with the boys each year.

It always feels like more than just baking-- when I dig through my recipe box, find a recipe, some in my grandma's handwriting, pull down her KitchenAid mixer and set to work.  Reconnecting with the past, imagining simpler times, and creating something with the boys casts a warm glow around the process.  This year was especially meaningful because the boys and I made her S cookies, which were always my favorite.  The two-day recipe always had intimidated me, so I never tried it, but as the boys and I shaped cookies into S's, I felt perfectly at ease and content.  I held Gage's hand as he turned the handle of the grinder to chop the almonds the same way my grandma did with mine.  As we dipped the cookies into almonds and sugar, tears filled my eyes because I could feel a connection with my past that will allow my grandma to live forever in my kitchen, and it is moments like this that I can ask for nothing more but to continue baking cookies and building memories with my boys.

My grandma always said that I was determined and could do anything I set my mind to.  I'm not sure that I believed her when I was young, but the boys have changed my mindset as I strive to give them traditions, memories, and a warm family environment.  They will always remember these moments with me in kitchen, and I know that with every S, wreath, and tree she is smiling down on me and the Rock House family, pleased with the cookies, the continuing of Christmas traditions, and our happy life together.