Sundays can be rough with small children. Hell, they’ve been rough for me as long as I can remember. Sunday Blues anyone? Well, I like to have a plan on Sundays to combat all the crazy. All the end of our rope. All the anxiety. SO. Yesterday the plan was to make Christmas Spritz Cookies. YAY.
My lovely, whiz in the kitchen, mother-in-law gave us her electric spritz gun. Is that what they call it? A shooter? Perhaps the only type of gun I can ever get down with.
I had been told it’s a total pain to make these cookies. It’s time consuming. It’s harder than it looks. Well damn. I guess I will just make some other type of cookie (says a normal person). But yesterday we set about our course. We all took early showers and baths and got in our Christmas jammies – even though it was 65 degrees – what the hell already. My incredible husband made sure we had all the ingredients as he does the grocery shopping, and we made a very simple recipe with cream cheese.
Anybody who cooks/bakes/does anything with kids knows it’s never going to go the way you think it will go. We lost one egg yesterday and we mourned for a moment but WE CARRY ON. WE PERSEVERE. We divided that egg and got the sugar and the salt (making sure they weren’t mixed up) into the bowl and with 4 little hands wanting to HAVE A YITTLE TASTE all the time, you have to use all your 18 arms to make it work.
I’m learning a lot through baking with my kids. It is teaching me to let go of control. Let go of expectation. Let go of perfection and momentary cleanliness and time constraints. All character defects that need work on and we get the lessons we need don’t we? Over and over and over.
As with so many things that happen with these kiddos and my husband, I always have this thought of, is this something we will continue? Could this become a tradition? Especially around the holidays, I have this question. WILL THIS ONE MAKE THE CUT?
What are traditions, really, but something that is done through the years, that has some kind of meaning attached to it. Whether that meaning be big or small, wildly important or just super fun, they are special. TO US. We just never know what will make the cut or what will go by the wayside.
My mom made these cookies. My mother-in-law made these cookies. Different variations, but tradition all the same. My husband and I are both really lucky in that we come from families that have a lot of traditions. A lot of good baking in involved. Things that are not necessarily traditional to most are incredibly personal and important to us. THAT is what tradition is all about. Not what anybody else tells you is important. What FEELS important to you and your family IS important.
The holidays can be treacherous. Blending of families can wreak havoc on traditions and time and cause unnecessary arguments if we let it. I’m guilty of it. But when we start our own families, we start our own traditions.
Traditions are largely based on memories. Facebook has this thing now where you can look back and see your memories on that day, through all the years you’ve been on Facebook. Creepy? Yes. Sometimes wonderful and other times, like today, absolutely terrible. I saw a post on my wall from a friend several years ago. A harmless, funny post. And today, that friend is dead. From addiction. I cried on the train, as I often do. As I cry all the time. Life is so fleeting and tradition can keep us afloat or drag us down. I don’t take one day for granted. I’m so grateful I’m still here and I miss those who are gone. Tradition is honoring them. Honoring their loves and delights as surely there were some while they were here.
I’m not in the mood for holiday parties this year. Some years I can get amped up for it, but this year I am taking a pass. It feels too forced, too bittersweet. I don’t believe in disingenuous fun these days. Maybe when I was drinking it was easier. Or just masked. I can’t do it anymore.
But what feels right and inordinately sweet is being with my own little family. Making our traditions as we go. Some old from our families and some new. And what a chance we are given as we are laying the foundation for our kids. I hope we don’t screw it up. My husband and I both have such fond memories of our Christmases growing up, we want our kids to have the same. And I’m not talking about gifts. I’m doing my best to manage expectations on all fronts.
I burned the heck out of some Christmas spritz cookies and I am calling it tradition.
I’m going to say they will get better next time. Now that I’m baking more (WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME), I understand our oven better and timing and taking them out before they are done. I understand how important sharing all this is with my kids and when they ask, CAN I HELP YOU MAMA? I do my best to say yes, even when it takes longer, is messier and perhaps has a bit more spit in the end result. Because these are the things they will remember. That we will remember. I will do my best to be kind to my husband when he gives me tips instead of biting his head off. Because nobody likes that tradition.
Keeping the holidays merry and bright isn’t all that easy all the time. It’s up to us to make it happen. And it’s the little things. It’s the sharing and caring and helping and giving that really make it a joyous and free occasion. It’s being grateful for each day we are here and we have so so much. It’s about helping others and being kind. Every single day. It’s not about the perfect cookies or the perfect present. A little burn never hurt anybody. In fact, I’d say it gives us character. Perfect cookies are overrated. Perfect holidays are overrated. I’m so thankful to just be here in the mess of it all. Because really, the tradition of simply waking up each morning, WAKING UP and seeing the three faces you love most in the world looking back at you is the most important tradition of all.
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