Do you all mind bearing with me through one more post?
I am separated by thousands of miles from my “old” family. (My mom, dad, sisters, niece, nephew, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins)
I am cozied right in close, with my “new” family. (My husband and children).
I wish that I could be with both today.
We are all remembering Grandma.
They will be sharing memories, hugging, holding hands, paying respects, laughing, and crying.
I will be on the beach with my daughter (because we are the lucky ducks with the morning off), doing the same.
They will nibble doughnuts in the foyer of the church.
We will nibble cookies on the sands of the Atlantic Ocean.
I have two memories of Grandma that are immeasurable treasures to my heart.
One is from over a decade ago, and the other is from last summer.
I’ll start with the first.
Years ago, my mom wanted to take Grandma on an adventure across the country to come visit us. She’d never been on a jet or traveled east of Denver, and she was in her late seventies.
She’d never seen that Atlantic Ocean before – this would be a doozie of a trip.
Grandma arrived chipper, spunky, and delighted, and we soon made plans to make it over to the coast.
The day we traveled to the ocean, it was bright and sunny. The wind was blowing, and it was fairly cool. I remember this because we all wore pants and jackets to the beach. I remember the wind because Grandma donned her rain cap (a little plastic hoodie she carried around in her purse) as she approached the waves.
I have never enjoyed watching someone dip their fingers in the ocean as much as I did at that moment.
My babies all touched the ocean when they were only months old, and the sand stuck to their sunscreened legs and bellies like bread crumbs on chicken cutlet.
Grandma had spent an entire lifetime before coming to the Atlantic and experiencing this great and beautiful expanse of God’s earth.
She dabbled her curled arthritic fingers in the waves, and clapped her hands in the mist, and giggled like a little school girl, (she did that a lot when she enjoyed something – giggled and clapped her hands, and said things like, “That’s so neat!” and really meant it).
Then, she walked along the beach with us and collected shells.
We had four generations together on the sand that day. My first son, me, my mom, and Grandma.
That in itself, was a gift.
Fast forward more than ten years.
It’s summer time and we are back home for a visit.
I go to visit Grandma with my mom, and take my 16 month old daughter with me.
The Babes is exceedingly shy around almost everyone – even people who are active in her life frequently. She burrows into my legs or shoulders and scowls at almost everyone but those she sees on a daily basis.
I was a little nervous about taking her to see Grandma because I wanted her to at least smile.
But I needn’t have worried – something clicked between those two.
Grandma and the Babes hit it off from the get-go.
I don’t know how. The Babes has never done that with anyone else, but here was my ultra-shy little girl grasping Grandma’s curled little fingers in her own soft toddler fingers, (to the point that the Babe’s were white-tipped and I had to keep asking Grandma if her fingers were OK) and literally pulling her great-grandma around the garden in her wheelchair, collecting flowers for them both that way.
Grandma loved every second of it.
So did the Babes.
And so did I.
Thank you Lord, that I was blessed with those moments the last time I was with Grandma.
And thank you that each of my children were able to hug her, and be hugged by her, and that we took a picture and had ice cream together. Thank you that I had that chance to tell her I loved her and she told me she loved me too, and we squeezed each others’ hands like a physical exclamation point that said, “I mean it! I really love you.”
That’s all I can say. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for Grandma, and the gift of her presence in my life.
And, I love you Grandma.
Today we’ll be out there on the beach, me and the Babes. Eating the cookies you taught mom to bake and thinking happy thoughts of our moments with you. If you can, peek down and blow us a kiss. We’ll send some to you too.
When I say, “Home is where the cookies are,” these are one of the four varieties that come to mind. They are in a constant rotation in our house. My grandma had been making them for somewhere around sixty years.
The recipe itself is something Grandma, Mom, and my sisters and I have chuckled over, because for the longest time we believed it was a family secret – until we said that to Grandma and she waved her hands, pshawed, and said that she pulled it out of a “magazine or something”, decades ago.
Since then, I’ve done some searching and thought I had found a very close recipe at Christmastime. Then, this morning, I Googled it, and low and behold – here it is – the number one result: A Betty Crocker Recipe that matches Grandma’s.
So I guess it’s not so much of a secret, is it?
But these Molasses Crinkles are certainly a tried and true, long-lasting family tradition that we all hold dear.
I hope you enjoy them too!
- Mix shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg thoroughly in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared sides up, 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with 2 or 3 drops of water.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes or just until set but not hard. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.