Thursday, February 21, 2013

Raisin-Filled Cookies

Beautiful Mom

It is that week in February again; Dad turned 81 on Tuesday the 19th. Mom died on February 20, three years ago yesterday.

My parents would have been married 57 years on Saturday the 23rd.

And today is my birthday.

I knew Mom would never forget. Through the years, she chose her own ways to honor this day. When I lived at home, she would cook my favorite dinner (usually something with rice and gravy) and make my always-the-same birthday cake (chocolate with a white creamy frosting that tasted like divinity).

For my 13th birthday, she gave me my first garter belt and nylons with a book on etiquette by Patti Page.

Sometimes she would send a Care Package, a box filled with small gifts selected just for me. Other years it was a beautiful card or a loving phone call at the end of the day.

One of my favorite birthday gifts was a tin of Mom’s raisin-filled cookies. It isn’t just that they were the best cookies known to all mankind; chewy and soft with the perfect mix of sweet and salty. It isn’t even that they got better the longer they sat in waxed paper.

It is the love that went into making them.

Mom was a Virgo…a deliberate perfectionist. She cooked with her whole heart, self-taught through trial and error and determined to excel at this important measure of successful homemaking. Many of her attempts to create, improve or modify a recipe ended up thrown over the fence. Never confident, her best dishes were often accompanied by a disclaimer, “I don’t think this is my best” or “this isn’t as good as I usually make”.

I know how long it took her to make raisin-filled cookies. It took hours!

That is if the dough was perfect. (I suspect many batches went over the fence before she perfected her recipe). She would linger over each step; cutting the bottom dough circles, grinding the raisins and then topping the mixture with more dough, using a fork around the edges to seal the magic in each cookie.

Yes, I miss her voice, her wisdom, her advice, her laugh. I miss her smile, her walk, her smell, and how soft her hands were. I miss going home to spend the day gabbing with her at the kitchen table or sneaking away for a special lunch at Fredrico’s Pizza.

I miss a million things about her today and every day. The absence of her on another birthday aches and I am lonely without her in the world.

What I would give today for a tin of my Mom’s extraordinary cookies….filled with raisins and her love for me.

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