Posted by: The Red Shoe Girl | August 14, 2010

I need a cookie

I’ve been thinking about things I learned from my mother.

-She taught me cookies have amazing curative powers.  Maybe it’s just the process of carefully measuring, mixing and forming.  Or the smell of something warm and wonderful in the oven.  Whatever it is – I am a stress baker.  When things seem to be too much to handle – a warm oven is often the answer.

-She’s always been adamant that we not compare ourselves to others.  “Just be yourself. Everyone else is taken” is a quote she uses a lot.  Another phrase she uses often is – “support the individual”.  Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all prospect.  We do the best we can with what we know.

We went to a wedding last night.  The bride is a good friend of mine.  She’s young. Very young by most standards.  And there was plenty of conversation and criticism of this fact in the large group of wedding-goers sharing our table.  I noticed that my mom quietly refused to participate in those discussions.  Instead trying to re-direct the conversations with comments about the decor, the location, the weather….  At one point one of  my mother’s good friends leaned in and asked her what she thought of the bride’s age.  Her reply was classic mom.  She said she thought R (the bride) was a wonderful girl.  Very levelheaded.  Very smart.  She’s sure R is making a good choice for her and maybe the best thing for all of us to do is “support the individual”.  Love her. Offer guidance, confidence, and smiles.  They’ll have rough times – of course.  Don’t we all no matter what our circumstances are?

-I have noticed as I’ve gotten older that my mother never really tries to direct or control my life.  Instead she asks questions.  Lots of questions.  Why do you think that’s a good choice?  What do you like about it? What do you think you’re afraid of?   At one point in my college career our family received some extremely stressful news.  I didn’t handle it well and ended up failing a couple classes.  I was devastated.   She responded by asking me what happened?  How did I feel about it?  What needed to happen now?  What could she do to help?  She very pointedly told me again and again that this does not define me.  What defines me is what I choose to do about it now.

And then we made cookies….

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