Love and sugar cookies

We’re baking sugar cookies for Christmas. Glistening with butter and sugar I roll them out with Paige’s moral support. Carefully we chose the cookie cutters – trees, snowflakes, snowmen, little boys and mittens. We cut them out, gently place them on the cookie sheets, and bake. Roll, cut, bake. Repeat.

The little girl helping on the counter starts playing with the salt grinder. Thought to have been plastic, turns out it’s glass. And it drops, then shatters, all over the kitchen floor. Hundreds of glistening slivers mixed with crystals of sea salt.

Fynn comes running to see what the commotion is about, knowing by now to stay in dining room if he hears glass shattering in the kitchen. He knows his mama, and he knows she’s clumsy, though he’s not surprised to see his sisters wide apologetic eyes.

I react, whisking out the hand held vacuum and in no time it’s put away and in one hand is a sheet full of oven fresh cookies, and in the other is a cookie cutter ready for more action. Swift, efficient, the perfect example of what to do with the unexpected. It’s what motherhood is all about.

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Three years ago I didn’t know if I could react. I was just starting out on this journey. Almost exactly three years ago I had my first day alone with my baby boy. He had come two and a half weeks early, and there was a day or two unaccounted for by visitors between Lucas going back to work and my mother coming into town. I don’t remember how many days, I’m thinking one or two – funny how that fact seems so fuzzy but the rest is so vivid. I remember sitting on the steps in our kitchen, not being able to say anything to Lucas as he prepared for his first day back to work. If I even looked remotely close to his eyes I knew the tears would have started. He kissed my head as he left, told me I’d do great,and locked the door behind him. I sat on those steps, held my head in my hands, and sobbed. Tears streaming down. I felt like I couldn’t do it alone. How could he just leave me there with such a little baby, when I had no idea what to do with a baby. Nursing was hard, we weren’t sleeping, showering alone was out of the question. How had this happened?

I wiped the tears with the back of my hand as I scaled the stairs upon hearing the baby’s cries.

Those first few days, weeks, even months were not easy. It takes time, help, and belief in yourself. And a lot of tears, from both mother and child. I remember days where Fynn would lay on my legs for hours, and I’d stare at Oprah as he slept or made little baby noises, or sucked non stop on his human pacifier. The days were long, though I look back and laugh because instead of his hour commute, Lucas walked five minutes down the road. He was home by 4:30, and could stop by on his lunch break. We were lucky. I’m thankful for his schedule back then, and when Paige was born I terrified at how far he would be from us at work, and how long it would take him to get home, and when he would get home.

But the second time is different. The fog of the early days still exists, but you know how to react. You trust yourself a little more and have the first one as living proof that yes, in fact, you can be a mother. The days go by faster, there’s still self doubt, but you don’t have the luxury of time to revel in it. If one child doesn’t need you for a second, the other does. You react. Play, clean, feed baby, feed toddler, sleep, repeat. You use stolen minutes for yourself, and don’t know how you thought you were so busy when it was just one.

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We finish cutting out the last batch of cookies, carefully placing each cutter to maximize what little dough is left. To get as much out of it as we can. Like motherhood. Making do where we can, juggling the cookie cutters while reacting to the unexpected. Keeping the rolling pin moving while balancing a babe on the hip. We do. We react. It doesn’t always come naturally, but with time and love we learn.

Love. React. Love.

Always, there’s love. Even in the piecemeal schedule that is our daily life. Without it, motherhood and sugar cookies would be nothing.

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I’m linking up to Emily’s Chatting at the Sky as this moment was such a gift to dive into and unwrap yesterday. Check out her site for more beautiful unwrapped moments.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Love and sugar cookies

  1. My favorite post of yours I have ever read. Beautiful, Corinne.

  2. It is amazing how much we as parents grow those first few years of our children’s lives. And how much they teach us.

  3. Blythe

    Great post 🙂

  4. What a painfully beautiful description of the first few days of new motherhood. I have several friends who either just had or are about to have their first child. I will be sure to send them here to read these lovely words.

  5. Booling

    I swear half your posts make me cry! That was beautiful and I want a cookie 😉

  6. Ashlee

    Loved this post! It made me think of how it was when I was alone with a new baby.

  7. This is, by far, my favorite post of yours! I remember Sean’s early days — how utterly terrifying it seemed at times to be responsible for that little life.
    This was beautiful.

  8. Oh my gosh how I could relate to this post! I wish I had read it back when my first one was a newborn. I was so afraid and alone, so insecure. I didn’t think I would ever survive. I think more new moms need to hear this real story — I was caught off-guard by how difficult those first few months would be. Rewarding yes, but oh so hard. Thanks for being honest — this story was so beautiful!

  9. Well this was beautiful. I have been thinking so much about those early days with babies. You describe the fog and the fear quite well. I love the way you passed through time, back and forth from present to past. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  10. God gives us what we need when we need it, doesn’t He? Thanks for reminding me.

  11. You totally just made me cry… That was my first day alone too, only Piper was awake. She was always awake, except when she would sleep on me, head nested between my breasts, listening to my heart. I couldn’t believe Pete was leaving me. I looked at her after he left and asked her what we were gonna do.

    She told me. She’s been telling me ever since.

    Some women choose this for themselves. God gave me Piper to choose it for me. Now, I can’t wait to hold Button. I hope he tells me what to do for him too. It helps.

    Beautiful, beautiful post.

  12. what a lovely post. an excellent comparison. I don’t remember those foggy first days, and reading my archives doesn’t help because my early blogging was more about looking for my authorial voice than about analyzing my early mom-moments. I was too “green” to turn a critical eye to my praxis, too steeped in the theory of it all.

  13. it is really about loving and beleiveing in yourself. I have a 21 month old, and I think I am at the point where I finally belive I can handle it. When she still nursed and wasn’t RUNNING I knew I had it, then she changed overnight, and it took me a while to catch up! I am getting there again though!

  14. Beautiful post…thank you for writing it.

  15. Awww, isn’t motherhood amazing? thanks for sharing!

  16. I remember sobbing uncontrollably when my mother left (she stayed for a week after Miss D. was born). I felt abandoned and terrified–I did not trust myself at all to know what to do. Great, honest post.

  17. I always wondered why we didn’t get another set of arms with each child we bore…
    Beautifully written post…thanks!

  18. your words bring a flood of memories back… vividly. i was terrified… knew nothing about taking care of a baby. but sure enough… God showed me that i did know how to be a mama. my heart knew what my head did not.

    thank you… for your words, your heart… this love that shines on and on!

  19. Corinne, this was it. The wonder and why and wisdom of it all.
    And that you articulated it with such gentleness still in the thick of these trying days of pre Christmas says much about you as a mother, a woman, a person.

  20. Beautiful post! It is amazing the quality of the on-the-job-training we get as mothers!

  21. Andrea

    This rings so true. Audrina is 4 months old and I feel like I can handle anything at this point. So strange how much easier it comes the second time around.

    “Love. React. Love”-Absolutely!

  22. This is beautiful. I was so taken by it while reading. I love, love, love it.

  23. lovely. the second time is very different, in so many ways. i don’t even think you realize the bigness of the “first baby” thing when it is happening, but it is big.

  24. This was so vivid! A great post. … and I wanna cookie too!! 😉

  25. I love that you didn’t freak out about the spill and broken glass. Many times I react as you – with love and patience. Lately I’ve been falling short. Now that my kids are older (4 &8) I’ve started to expect so much more, forgetting that they are still my babies and need me to be patient with them. Your beautifully written post was a great reminder for me to slow down and let them be little.

  26. Yes!!! Exactly! If you would gave told me this about number two, which, um, you did actually, I never would have (didn’t) believed you!!! But it’s true. So unbelieably true. Things that would have taken me a week to recover fro
    wig the first take only moments with the second. By the third I won’t even notice anyhing happens, right? Lol. Lovely and beautiful post.

  27. Pingback: ~2009~ « Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers

  28. Pingback: The Saturday Evening Blog Post « Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers

  29. I know I commented when I read this the first time, but it is still one of my favorites of yours. Great choice.

  30. “Love. React. Love”

    Beautiful!

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