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[HOMEWORD] Connecting with family around simple traditions

We all know how to do the big things, and the holidays are filled with big things – attending the church’s blowout Christmas event, decorating the new 9-foot Christmas tree, shopping all the major department store sales, finding a mammoth turkey to feed all the visiting guests for Christmas dinner. Big, like a loud noise, grabs our attention.

My three grown daughters have been making plans for weeks. They arrange their schedules to converge on my house for their traditional Christmas cookie bake. However, making cookies and treats for the holidays began before it was ever “their” cookie bake. It began when they were little girls climbing up into chairs to reach the counters. It began with their mother welcoming them into her kitchen.

Kathy’s mom died this past July. She had battled Alzheimers courageously for nearly 15 years. With Thanksgiving and the approaching Christmas season, I have caught Kathy more than once looking off in the distance. At times, tears roll down her cheeks and I know she must be remembering past holidays.

There is a black and white photo of Kathy as a child in the kitchen with her mom. Kathy stands in a patterned, upholstered chair. Her hair is bobbed, there is a bowl in front of her, and she holds a spoon covered in chocolate batter.

Kathy’s head is turned toward the camera. Her smile is amplified by the chocolate markings around her mouth. Although it appears that her mom has her hands full, she too has a big smile on her face. Mother and daughter connected for a lifetime through baking.

My girls were pre-teens when they first received their very own grown-up aprons. On cookie baking day, the aprons come out of the drawer. The sisters help each other tie on the aprons, and the talking and laughter punctuate the air.

Bowls fill the kitchen counter