I can’t even remember what I was thinking when I left the house two minutes ago. I know I’m thinking about cookies. About writing something positive. About thinking something positive. About wrapping up the pain inside of me in something sweet and good, like Christmas cookies.
Angelo loved to bake with us. I remember our first Christmas being married and being surprised that he wanted me to wait to bake cookies together. He loved to be together, baking cookies with his kids, sweetness spilled out everywhere to the tune of Christmas music. He was the DJ, with his own collection of music that we added to over the years. His smile, his singing, his laughter were Christmas gifts we will treasure always.
Our recipes started out with gingerbread, snickerdoodles and Mexican wedding cookies. We made sugar cookies a couple times, but I always preferred something with more flavor and texture, and to spend my time and money on treats that are at least somewhat nourishing.
Our repertoire grew each year as I added recipes from family, neighbors, friends, trips to Italy, magazines and cookbooks. Brandied fruit and chocolate filled cuccidati, apricot filled croissants, various biscotti, almond drops, chocolate spiced cookies, sfoglitelli, and “S” cookies (we made “O’s” too.)
We shared them with loved ones and enjoyed them with our coffee for breakfast and dessert all Christmas season. Angelo used to joke with me and say I was “ the cream in his coffee!” while enjoying a cookie.
There’s more tears than cream in my coffee now.
I couldn’t even consider how to bake this year. With multiple recipes and hours of various tasks to accomplish, it was more than my heart and mind could fathom. I've learned there is no multitasking for a widow.
Then one of the sweetest Christmas gifts was unwrapped in our kitchen.
I watched our daughters make our family tradition happen, as they gathered ingredients and organized the process. They invited friends to join us. Those friends touched the dough with their hands, rolled it and filled it with rehydrated sweetness while we enjoyed each other's company.
I felt my heart, parched from weeping, rehydrate as I was wrapped in comfort and warmth. I watched our daughters take our history, their story and continue to mold it, grow in it, embrace it and share it. Even as we missed you. Even as I drank my tears, I could taste hope.
I’m grateful for every sweet moment you wrapped us up in. The security of your care, the happiness of your joy, the togetherness you treasured, warmly melt around my broken heart and nudge me from heaven to breath in the fragrance of Christmas cookies, the fragrance of love.
Friends Christmas 2002
Our special Christmas cake, another story for another time 2014
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul- Proverbs 13:19a
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
As You Like It W. Shakespeare
Praying Peace over all this season