I baked a little before I had kids, which, trust me, wasn’t much; and then when I had kids I did the cookie thing with them, giving them the Christmas spirit. I was a long shot from my grandmother. I didn’t bake my ass off because, to be honest, I just wasn’t into it like her. I could bake, but I sure as hell wasn’t a baker. The whole scratch cookie thing could go and scratch my ass for all I cared. After I saw that Pillsbury sold a big tub of cookie dough readymade, my ass was buying stocks of that sucker. I was what you call a “clean baker.” No bowls, mixers, or measuring cups; no flour, sugar, or butter. I was just like, “here you go kids,” and I’d open a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough or sugar cookie dough and let them go to town. They would shape, cut, and roll for hours. I knew when they had their fill and had become sick and tired because both of them would be throwing dough at each other or their fingers would be raw. If someone started crying, which is a given, that’s when I came in and used my Christmas cookie emergency method. It’s called “Stop, drop, and roll.” First I’d yell “stop” at the top of my lungs with a wooden spoon in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. “Drop” was next, which meant they sure as hell better drop all the cookie dough or I would hit their ass with a wooden spoon. And finally, “roll” meant roll your ass to your room before I make a 911 call to Santa.
Some people used to think I wasn’t “really” making Christmas cookies. They called me a half assed baker the way I made them. How dare they throw the judgment card at me! Hey, I was happy and the kids were happy too because the basic concepts of what Christmas really stands for were there: Love—all of us together; Peace—no one was bothering me for a couple of hours and the kids were getting along; Comfort—my wine and the kids eating cookie dough; Joy—watching the kids beat the shit out of one another and me hitting them with a wooden spoon. See, years ago when I put my heart into picking out the recipes and letting them help with all the ingredients, they were fighting even before they got a chance to shape, cut, and roll, and no one gave a damn.
Now that those Christmas cookie memories are in the past and that stage of my life is over, I decided to quiz my daughter to see if she remembered making Christmas cookies when she was young. Her response was, “I do and I don’t.” Not the answer a mother wants to hear. As I walked over to the liquor cabinet to mix myself a sick and tired cocktail, I said to myself, “Yup—that’s what I get for losing sleep at night thinking to myself, ‘Am I a good mother?’ Once again, I should’ve opened a box of Pepperidge Farm cookies and called it a day!”