when i became a mom thirteen years ago i was over the moon... over ten thousand moons... crazy, crazy happy! becoming pregnant was the first hiccup in our marriage so i when it finally happened i was set to be the best mom. the best best.
no, i was not aiming for the type of "best" which requires trampling and trudging over other moms. not at all. my "best" meant the cookie jar would be full. yes, yes, dinner would be... cooked, there would be dr. seuss and jack prelutsky and itsy-bitsy spider and walks to the pond to see the turtles and tons of fruits and veggies and crafts with leaves, too.
but the cookie jar would be full.
later, blessed with a daughter and twin boys, valentine's day came 'round and my then three and half year old daughter helped me create some home baked valentines for her nursery school classmates.
we packed the cookies in cellophane bags, tied them with sparkly ribbon and had a special treat for each friend. my daughter smiled proudly as she passed them to her classmates.
easter hopped in and my daughter wanted to spread the cookie love again.
the years passed, our children grew and on a sunny september day the world became a more complicated place. still, i baked and decorated and gifted and piped and packaged and delivered frosted sugar cookies to and fro for holidays and celebrations for those we loved.
our boys entered preschool and, despite that full cookie jar, the complications of the world snaked into our home. with the support of family, we persevered and happily headed to dallas in 2007 for my husband's new job.
after settling the family into our new city, i resumed baking cookies for fundraisers and halloween treats and teachers' gifts and even googled "how to start a cookie decorating business". in between, i refinished our furniture, cooked, kept the house pretty close to clean, ran a few miles each day with the dogs, yelled at kids to put their dishes in the sink, helped with homework and, most of all, grew to love our colorful neighborhood.
|the famed granada theater on greenville ave... a block from our house.|
but, before i knew it, those twisty and turny complications slithered their way under our house, rocking the foundation. i stepped back from the oven, packed up my cookie cutters, wiped the flour from my shoulders and headed back to the classroom to bring home some bacon.
a full-time teaching position after over a decade at home.
call me a baby, but it was scary.
yes, it was tough having to shower each day and figure out who was picking up our 2nd and 4th grade kids from the after school program. that was the tough stuff but it was not scary.
i'm talking the crazy scary that swirls around in your head making you dizzy with fear...you know, like the "why-the-heck-did-anyone-hire-me-to-do-this-job-cuz-i-stink-at-it-scary" and "cookies? when was the last time you kids had a vegetable?" and "help you with your homework? whose going to help me with MY homework?" and "i can't miss this deadline! i need to email that parent. i should've given that student more time. i could've done more." and the heart-stopping scariest of all... "mom? i can't be a mom to the three of you when i have to be a teacher to 100 6th graders!"
do you know that kind of scary that you can't run away from or take a pill for or call someone to exterminate?
resuming a role at the front of a classroom was a bit more challenging than expected since, during my decade dedicated to a full cookie jar, a few other folks focused on inventing these crazy electronic touch-sensitive boards for classrooms that project stuff from a teacher's computer. yes, the teacher had to KNOW HOW TO TEACH with the COMPUTER. software was not just something that brought bill gates billions; software was important and necessary. i needed to know all kinds of software to teach... and to grade... and to communicate... and to survive.
of course, i did not raise my children in a cave with my kitchenaid during that decade. i had technology skills. i could google and send emails and write intelligible girl scout leader letters in ms word but on a mac... and the rest of the WORLD APPARENTLY DOES NOT DRAG AND DROP TO GET THINGS DONE!
i told you. scary, scary stuff.
the hollow cookie jar was moved from the counter to the cabinet... above the fridge.
the economy tanked, the architecture firm that employed my husband-- formerly the third largest--bled quickly and he was let go on the third round of layoffs....four months after i started teaching.
big, fat humongous health insurance and steady (small) paycheck phew.
fast forward a year and a half later to summer 2010 when we packed up to move back to the northeast. my husband's new job has him traveling much of the time and we wanted to be closer to our family. during that quiet summer of decompressing, our children slowly revealed what they saw during the two years that i was teaching. in a nutshell, it wasn't horrible... but it wasn't pretty either.
the salvage collection was born.
and what about the cookie jar? to tell you the truth, it's usually empty... and i'm okay with it. i learned a lot about kids and parenting and teamwork and marriage and, mostly, myself during the two years i worked 60+ hours a week.
for now, let's just say that when the jar is full, it's a result of this:
but they are much sweeter.