As the boys get older, it seems like our relationship can go from this:
…In less than thirty seconds. One minute, I’m losing my mind over the utter lack of hygiene and the next minute we’re all bonding over our mutual loathing of animal movies. (But WHY would they kill Old Yeller????? WHY??????)
And while we process and adjust and try to make sense of what this new stage looks like, it was a bit of a relief today to return to something familiar: Utter Chaos While Baking.
Because I don’t care how old they are, baking with seven of my progeny is absolutely never going to be simple. Too many arms and legs involved, I think…
I called in back-up (high five, Aunt Abbi) and we went to work on the Snickerdoodles.
The beauty of having 14 arms at my disposal is that we had the snickerdoodles rolled and dipped in a matter of ten minutes. Which meant Abbi and I got a little too big for our britches and thought we’d add in some orange oatmeal raisin and/or chocolate chip cookies.
These took us a little longer, but were no less successful. Plus, it meant we were totally justified in having cookies, oranges, and a spoon full of peanut butter and calling it lunch.
At which I turned to her and said, “My daughter… you are a woman now.”
Because that’s the secret to womanhood, right? Baking is just an excuse to lick the beaters. Always.
But there’s more to baking than the beaters, I think. There’s something about the notion of returning to the familiar… I’ve baked with these kids since they were all still pantless and needed buckets to see over the counter.
We don’t do it pretty, but we know how to DO baking. In the past few months, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the orthodontics, the wrangling over math tests, the every day grind that is our new normal… but baking with the kids means I can come back to something I Know.
We can re-orient, find our true north again, and start over.
Today we played Christmas music, I spilled flour all over the floor, and it wasn’t such a horrible way to be in each other’s company, feeling the familiar.
Maybe that’s how you do the growing. You can’t stretch out all at once, there’s an easing into it… you muscle forward and then you spring back a bit to familiar ground, inching along like the proverbial worm, taking two steps forward, one step back, and then two more steps forward…
I could wax metaphorical for days, but the truth is, Parenting means never quite being certain of the stage you’re in, so it’s nice to know that some things – like baking – are still the same. We lick the beaters, somebody plays in the sugar, and we all find a little comfort in the Known and a counter full of cookies.
What do you go back to when you’re feeling out of your depth? What activity is it that brings your family the comfort of the familiar? I’d love to know how you ease the growing pains…