You know all those things your older friends tell about how wonderful it is to be a grandparent?
Well, they're true! I remember seeing my parents' personality change when I had children. I - a young and exhausted mother of three - couldn't understand it. Having children changed my personality drastically (and not always for the best), but it was like my parents had been invaded with aliens when they became grandparents. All the rules went flying out the back door when the grandchildren walked through the front door.
I can remember getting so frustrated with my mother and my aunt about breakfast and the grandchildren at the holiday. We would all be in the kitchen long before others stirred, working to get lunch done for the multitudes and then - the grandchildren would get up. They would stop cooking lunch and let one of the sleepy head grandchildren crawl into their lap and snuggle. Then they would make them their favorite breakfast. Oatmeal - cereal - grits and even a sausage biscuit! I wanted to say "HELLO? We have lunch to cook!" I knew better than to ruffle a grandmother's feathers, so I always held my tongue. And thenâ€¦I became one of them.
My grandchildren came quickly - four of them in five years all to the same set of parents. Something changes in your heart when you have a grandchild. I wish I could explain it to you, but our language has no words that do it justice. It's one of moments in life when you have to be there to understand. So, when my son and daughter-in-law (who live in Kennesaw) asked if they could come for a visit the first weekend of December and would we mind baby-sitting while they went to a Georgia Southern game, I jumped at the opportunity. Now I'm a caterer and December isn't a good month to take a Saturday off, but my grandchildren were coming and I was going to be off. Clear the schedule, lock the doors and I'll see you on Sunday.
I already knew what we would do - bake Christmas cookies and decorate the Christmas tree. I bought us all aprons on a Black Friday deal, stocked up on sprinkles, cookie cutters and sugar cookie dough. I waited until the boring parents left and I spread a plastic tablecloth out over the table and we cut and decorated three dozen or more cookies. It wasn't always smooth going - I made the 2-year-old cry when I told her not to eat the raw cookie dough, and the 4-year-old dumped a whole bottle of sprinkles on one cookie.
The 7-year-old got bored and wandered off, and our puppy somehow managed to get a bottle of green sprinkles off the table and take it to the carpeted living room to chew on it. The 6-year-old was intense and serious about his decorating and got agitated if someone was using the sprinkles he wanted. But you know what? I'm a grandma and that was all perfectly OK!
We took a break for lunch while I baked the cookies. Each child wanted something different for lunch - and they got it! The 2-year-old had a couple of slices of orange and a cookie. The 4-year-old had two pieces of plain bread, four slices of orange, and two cookies. The 6-year-old had a normal lunch of spaghetti, and the 7-year-old just wanted cookies. But hey - I'm grandma and that was perfectly fine with me!
Papa Steve got the Christmas tree lights on and took them all out for their most favorite adventure with him - poop scooping. They all love to look for dog poop and scoop it up with the pooper scooper. But you know what - they're my grandchildren and everything they do is absolutely normal!
As I kissed each one goodnight, I thanked God for the precious gift of the circle of life and for the opportunity to experience love so rich and full.
It is my wish that each of you will slow down enough to enjoy the gifts of the Christmas season. Family, friends and a God that loves us so much that he willingly stepped down from his throne and lay in a manger so we could be with him forever. Perhaps he gave us the gift of grandchildren so we could experience a small piece of what that kind of love is like.
Steve and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and pray that your holidays will be full of love, laughter and delicious food.
TERI'S SUGAR COOKIES WITH CHILDREN
1. Sugar cookie dough: Buy it. Young children could care less about it being homemade. When they get older, you can teach them to make the dough themselves
2. Cookie cutters: Use familiar shapes that they will recognize - nothing fancy.
3. Inexpensive plastic tablecloth: This is going to be messy so protect your table! When it's all over, you can fold the ends towards the middle and toss or empty the loose sprinkles into the trash.
4. Assorted sprinkles: Pour a small portion of sprinkles onto a small plate or bowl and let them use their fingers or a teaspoon to decorate the cookie. If your bakers are sensitive to food dyes, Whole Foods sells sprinkles that are colored with natural dyes such as spinach and beet juice.
5. Undivided time: Don't rush; don't be distracted with your phone, television, laundry or dinner.
6. Soap and water: Baths for all are highly recommended after baking!
Roll, cut, decorate, bake and eat. Love, laugh, listen, share and praise. Kiss red colored lips. Accept hugs from green colored arms. Thank God for the blessing of children.
If you don't have the luxury of having the time to make and decorate sugar cookies, this is a very simple cookie to make with children. Before you send the email - it is a flourless cookie!
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter, egg and sugar until smooth. Drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet flatten slightly with the back of the spoon Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Don't overbake. The cookie will remain soft until it cools. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a chocolate kiss into the center of the cookie. Allow to cool completely.