I walk to the coffee maker to pour my first cup of coffee. I feel the crunch of sugar beneath my slippers and catch sight of sprinkles that have rolled into the corner, escaping last night’s pass of the vacuum. The counter is scattered with drying cookie cutters and the dishwasher is full of bowls, from lots of icing color experiments.
“What do you want for breakfast?” I call to the girls, already busy playing.
“Cookies!” they shout up from the basement.
Friday night, I initiated what has become a family tradition, the baking and decorating of sugar cookies. The girls all gathered around the kitchen island, a few perched on stools, ready to help. “Can I do the flour?” Adi asked, measuring cup in hand. “I’m waiting patiently for my turn,” Rose chimed in, eager for a job of her own.
I watch the flour and sugar not quite make the bowl as shaky hands balance measuring cups and ingredients. Little tongues poke out in concentration. There are too many cooks in the kitchen and I have to hold my tongue many times. They’re excited.
On Saturday, we begin cutting festive shapes into the chilled dough from the night before. Again, eager helpers are positioned, waiting their turn. We make snowmen without heads and trees without stems. Each perfectly imperfect. We roll, cut, and bake…already planning for the decorating.
Once the kitchen is clean and the cookies have cooled, I set to work on the icing while the girls are busy doing something else. But, they have sonar and soon, they’re back to help, each waiting for their turn to stir in a color. There is more tongue holding as I see sleeves dip into food coloring.
Finally, it is time to decorate. The kitchen table is now scattered with a collection of colored sugar, tubes of icing, and a variety of holiday sprinkles. Everyone is ready. This is the fun part. They could decorate for hours. “I’m pretty much a professional,” Wren reports as she places a carefully detailed snowman onto the tray to dry. I watch them work, noticing how this year’s batch has stepped up a notch from last year. There is icing everyone…on faces, in hair, and covering the table. Only one container of sprinkles fell to the floor. I call that a success.
As they step back to admire their work, they beg to eat one of their creations. Rose chooses the biggest cookie, of course. Wren and Adi hem and haw over which of their works of art they want to eat first and which they want to share with others.
Finally, Wren takes her first bite and as she takes it in she says, “It tastes like memories.” That line hangs in the air, so perfect. It could have been written into a script. My eyes tear up now thinking about it. She is wise beyond her years. These kids are trying treasures. I’m grateful I held my tongue and for the spilled sprinkles and the excess number of cooks in the kitchen.