Monday, December 7, 2009
One of the traditional activities at the holiday time is baking cookies. At our house cookie baking has fallen by the wayside as our children grew up and left home. After all, who in the world is going to eat those cookies? Between restricted diets and a need to cut back on those cookie calories, baking just wasn't very cost effective.
And then the grandkids came to visit for a while. Like many multi-generational families, ours is a melding of responsibilities and privileges. Grandparents can contribute some things that parents aren't equipped to handle. Experience, a sense of perspective, a model for parent/child relationships, even a neutral ear when needed.
Grandchildren observe the way their parents treat their parents. Does Mom show respect for Grandmom? Do they get along well? Do they express love and affection?
Often, the way that grandparents contribute is by sharing their knowledge and experience in such areas as crafts, cooking, car repair...whatever way the grandparent and grandchild can spend time together.
And so last evening, the girls and I baked gingerbread cookies. There were lessons to be learned. Mixing the dough, reading the recipe, cleaning the table, sprinkling the flour and rolling out the dough. They cut out cookies, discovering for themselves that the cutters needed to be floured so they didn't stick. When the cookies stretched out of shape as they moved them from the table to the baking pan, they found out why I insisted the dough needed to be cold.
When we cut and baked a dozen both girls decided it would be best if we put the dough back in the refrigerator until after school today. When they get home from school, we'll roll and cut and bake the rest.
As her older sister put the bowl back in the fridge, the little one turned to me with a solemn expression and said, "Patience is good, Nanna. We'll just have to be patient."
Perhaps that's as good a lesson as any to learn at the holiday time.