Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Family Baking Day 2012

2010 Family Baking Day (The First One)

This is the last photo I have of mom.  This was Dec  4th and if you look closely you can see the shadows of eternity in her eyes.  She left us to twirl on streets of gold just 13 days after this photo was taken.  Now that I recall WHEN this photo was taken, I would dare say this was taken nearly the same HOUR she left us just 13 days later.

I was going through chemo and this photo was taken of ME just 2 days before I underwent the most massive surgical procedure of my life.  I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.  My bigger fear was that mom would pass away while I was undergoing my surgery

Mom survived until I saw her again...in fact she waited until the first day I was recovered enough to make the ride out to see her...11 days after my surgery.  I got to sweep her into my arms...gently for both of our accounts.  She breathed my name.  She died that night while we were preparing dinner.

Family Baking Day came at my mom's request.  Death was not sneaking upon her unaware.  She knew the specter was stalking her.  Earlier that year she had me organize her Christmas decorations and divide them among my sisters.  My sister Becky could not stand the barrenness of the home, between she and other sisters they decorated mom's home in holiday fashion.  Mom had but one request.

"Do you think all you girls could gather in the kitchen and bake?  I would love it to smell and sound like Christmas."  We made sure everyone gathered.

In many ways for us that year, this day turned out to BE Christmas.  We teased and laughed, cried and hugged.  The house filled and swelled with scents of cinnamon, peppermint, chocolate and sugar.  The windows rattled with soft whispers of love and loud shouts of laughter.  The house was overly warm already because mom's body couldn't produce heat.  She was chilled.  I moved from a wig and hat to a hat, and finally to a plain pink scarf.   It was a lovely day.

Then I said good bye to my mother.  I never expected to see her again this side of eternity.  I dragged out the good bye until it was simply necessary.  I held back my sobs while I hugged and held my mother that time.  One look at my face and each of my three sisters lost it.  They were already teary.  But they knew my fears and what was in my heart.  I raised my head to see them hanging on to each other and shaking in their own grief.  They knew I was saying goodbye.

It had been a lovely day, but it was a lousy trip home.

Mom passed away on Dec. 17, 2010.  If they celebrate Christ's birth in Heaven, she was at the biggest party of her life.

We decided to make Family Baking Day, a tradition.

Family Baking Day 2011

Family Baking Day 2012

We teased, giggle, chortled and guffawed   We shared stories, memories and tears.  We listened to songs we remembered from our childhood.  We sweat from hot flashes spurred on by multiple ovens.  We took turns running to a bathroom to empty bladders weakened by laughter.  At one point, we stopped to imagine my mom, their mom, (both had died in December) watching our antics from Heaven.  We would see them pointing, laughing until their bladders weakened, and elbowing each other as they watched us.  We could see them suddenly turn to each other and exclaim.."Why didn't we do this while we were ALIVE!"

Over 300 cookies were baked, divided and sent home with each group.  It will be a week before we crash from the sugar high.

Here's to Family Baking Day...the sharing of memories and the making of new ones.


  1. What a great way to honor the memory of your mom - rolling out flour-covered memories and love. I know yesterday was probably a roller coaster day. Hoping you are OK.

  2. That's awesome! My Mom taught my older kids how to bake our traditional Norwegian cookies, and we have many pictures of her with the kids and a kitchen full of flour-covered teenagers (they would invite their friends). Now, 4 years after her passing, my 21 year old son still heads up the baking every year. The year she died, in November, he consoled himself by having the usual baking party and taking charge - the passing of the baton. Great times and great memories.