Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Cookies and Holiday Exhaustion

My son reminded me when I got home today that he needed thirty gingerbread men cookies for his birthday treat the following day--the last day before Christmas (his birthday is the 23rd). "Oh, wow, I forgot about that," I said. "Would they settle for chocolate chip?"

He drooped. "It's sort of a tradition." This was true. I've been making them for him since he was a little tike.

"Okay," I said, feeling sentimental. So off to the store I went, only to find that two different stores didn't have the dough-in-a-tube that I was counting on. I looked for a box mix. No going. Apparently no one who worked there had ever heard of gingerbread--and this was a giant store! I called Ian at home and told him to find me the from-scratch recipe and read me the ingredients. He did so, and I packed them all into the cart, until I got to "Molasses." There was none on the shelf. A trip to the service desk, a page to the grocery department, and I was told that they were out of molasses. Of course.

I finally did find a box mix and dragged back home to start making it. While I was rolling the dough, I heard sounds of a typical boy argument: one taunting, one reacting. Then I heard a little voice: "Mom! Ian's being a jerk right by Christmas!"

"Stop it," I said. Cookies in the oven and more rolling. Finally I had a batch cooled and ready to write names on. I held my frosting tube ready, prepared to make fat letters on each tiny man. "Ian," I said. "Start reading me names." Ian floated in with his class list.

"Okay. The first one is Stephanie."

"You're joking," I said.

"You can call her Steph," he offered. It ended up looking more like Step, but how could they complain? I was attempting to validate their identities in frosting. They'd cut me some slack, right?

"There. Next?"

"Nicholas."

I sighed. They were all like that. His classmates have the longest names in the world, and apparently they actually call each other by these formal monikers like Mary Katherine and Benjamin. I did the best I could with each cookie while my nine-year-old continually crept in to steal dough. Soon, I knew, he would tell me he had a stomach ache.

Finally the cookies were labeled, packed, and carefully stowed away until tomorrow's delivery. I had earned my mother's stripes for another year. But I was strangely exhausted; making cookies is not an arduous task, but one would think I'd just run a marathon.

The good news is that after tomorrow I'll be on a holiday break. Sure, I'll have to bring papers and journals and projects home with me, unwelcome as they might be in my holiday relaxation plans. But there should be plenty of put-up-your-feet-and-read time, and no "Mom I need this tomorrow" emergencies for a blessed two weeks.

On the other hand, there will be fighting--lots of fighting. So I'll have to polish off my referee shirt and accept the idea: there's no vacation from being a mom--not even at Christmas. :)

7 comments:

eric-mayer said...

Neat cookies. Do you know what? They don't seem to have boxed gingerbread mix around here. I've been looking. Heck, when I was a kid gingerbread was kind of important this time of year. Is it going out of fashion or something? Are there cookie fashions?

Julia Buckley said...

I really have trouble finding gingerbread. And the boys love them, so it can't be that it's not popular with children. A mystery.

Ria Kennedy said...

I sympathize with you on the whole ordeal -- what should have been a straight-forward process turned into this could I/couldn't I thing, and I think that causes stress. + The actual job of cookie making! Phew!

We have a very simple Christmas, and we still find the season can be trying. At this point, the crowds are kind of desperate and it's nerve-racking to go down to Powell Street, so we're laying low.

Next time I eat gingerbread cookies, I'll think of you and your clan, Julia!

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Ria--the children enjoyed the cookies a great deal, especially because of the names on them. :)

Now it is that wonderful day, the half day when school lets out, and its blessedly quiet here. The boys are tucked upstairs with the Netflix that came today, and Mom has that unheard-of but much longed-for thing: time to herself.

Ria Kennedy said...

Enjoy, you've earned it!

Karen Olson said...

The cookies sound like they turned out great, and you were able to keep with tradition!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Karen!

Merry Christmas to the Olson clan.