Today, the day before Thanksgiving, is my annual baking day. For the last six or seven years, I've baked my grandma's Christmas cookies. Not living at home anymore, and not always sure I can get home, I wanted those cookies. Those cookies that I grew up on. So I got the recipe from my (adoptive) mom, and started making them. It is, for me, something of a spiritual ritual, reconnecting with my past and with my grandmother, who passed away over a decade ago. (If you want to see the cookies, I've got pictures at Over A Candle.
This year, it didn't feel the same. It felt almost like a chore.
The cookies are somewhat difficult to roll out, and very time intensive. And usually it is a joy to do it. Now admittedly, this year, my back seems to be acting up, so I was feeling a bit uncomfortable while I was baking, but that wasn't the real problem.
The real problem is that, with all the time to think, and with all the reminders of my (adoptive) mom present in the kitchen (because she made these cookies every year), it was hard not to think about her. And it just reminded me of how upset I am about that whole situation. I kept running through conversations with her. Some where I yelled. Some where I just was upset. And some where I felt resigned.
Maybe it was a mistake to bake the cookies. It's not as though I need the sugar. And it just seemed to put this whole situation with Christmas back in the front of my mind. They still taste good. But there is something a bit bitter about the whole thing.
I hadn't really thought this would be a problem when I woke up this morning. But the cookies are already done. And this is part of my holiday tradition, even if it is connected to some ambivalent feelings right now.