Holidays will forever be bittersweet at our house. If this holiday season is the first since your precious loss, I am so sorry for your added pain.
I remember facing that first Christmas after the loss of my firstborn. I dreaded it going in, and was grateful when it was over, finally to have tunes on the radio other than the familiar seasonal ones. So it will pass again this year, but maybe, just maybe, there will be some special memories to linger after the holidays are over.
Here’s a thought: if you are looking for a way to keep yourself occupied this season, and you enjoy baking, why not “bake it forward”? (I will explain in a moment.) Sometimes the tantalizing aromas of sugar, butter, and spices mingling in the oven can be as soothing to the soul as they are to the tummy.
One of my Christmas traditions has always been to bake a variety of cookies. I send large tins to work with my husband, and take containers piled high with sweet treats to my neighbors. I won’t admit that my cookie receivers are “guinea pigs”, but I will admit that I love trying new recipes along with the old tried and true. I have loved the excuse to look through my assortment of cookbooks. The holiday season usually finds me studying the colorful cookie photos from my many cookbooks, which are stacked high in an already bulging cupboard.
As much as I look at cookie and other festive recipes, I don’t love the holidays like I did years ago. The old traditions aren’t fun anymore. I so miss my firstborn who loved food. He would be the first to sample hot cookies right off the baking sheet or stick his finger in something being prepared, moaning that he was going to starve before the meal was ready. I would shoo him away, smiling to myself . . . his larger than life presence is greatly missed. I miss his feet under my kitchen table. You feel the same?
I know how hard it is to keep up with holiday traditions year after year. The first Christmas after my firstborn’s death came four months later. I think I was still numb, because I set about . . . probably on autopilot . . . baking up a storm like I had done every other year. I guess I didn’t want to disappoint friends, neighbors, and the guys in my husband’s shop who had come to expect a tin of homemade treats to add a little joy to their holiday spirit. Granted, I did start baking early, even before Thanksgiving, stashing the cookies in the freezer. I suppose that was my way of getting the baking out of the way before the radio began playing holiday music that would bring on the tears.
The next year found me dreading the whole baking thing. Why bother were the words going round and round in my head. But my family loved the old traditions, so out came the flour, butter, sugar, and all the other essentials for baking batch after batch of fragrant, mouth-watering goodies.
If cookie baking is your thing and you are looking for a way to stay focused on other things, here’s an idea I heard advertised on the cable cooking channel. The idea is not new, and variations abound if you google, but HGTV calls it “bake it forward”. Here’s the gist of it:
- Food Network is promoting Bake it Forward to help end child hunger by teaming up with No Kid Hungry
- When #BakeItForward is used on Twitter, Food Network will donate to fight child hunger
- Simply bake your favorite treat – share it on social media with the hashtag “#BakeItForward” and Food Network will do the rest
- Food Network has set a goal of providing 1,000,000 meals to children in need
- Promotion runs 11/1/15 through 12/31/15
Even if you are focused on your pain and operating on auto pilot this holiday season, try to remember the important things like: the delight in a eyes of those you love, happy children with smiling faces and sticky fingers, the expression of utter bliss on the face of a teenager biting into his favorite cookie, a hug from behind when your apron is well dusted with flour, or your favorite carols sung in soft candlelight. Whatever your favorite traditions, they are precious gifts in no need of wrapping. Mark them in your mind for later remembering.
~ Life is made up of moments of time, never to be repeated. Your memories will help to carry you through hard times of healing. ~
“Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.” Luke 6:38 VOICE