I often wonder why I like to bake so much.
I mean, I usually don’t eat what I bake. I take a taste here or there, and if it’s really good I may eat a whole cookie, cupcake, muffin….
But most times the treats get brought into work so as not to be a temptation at home.
And I rarely make the same recipe twice. Most of the fun is trying new recipes or comparing similar recipes. My pin boards are full of treats that I would like to try sometime.
In fact, I think that’s it. I find it very relaxing to look at recipes online. Often I am looking for flavors I think others would enjoy. Most recipes I pin are geared with a specific person in mind. When I find just the right combination of flavors and ingredients, I pin it to my board and wait for the opportunity to bake.
I’ve made snickerdoodle blondies for my HR person at work who’s a huge snickerdoodle fan. And I’ve made chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes and cookies with my immediate boss in mind.
I’ve made root beer cupcakes for Amp. He’s the expert on fine bottles of root beer. Pecan pie cupcakes, coconut bread, and key lime cookies and cupcakes were all made for my doting husband, and the thin mint cupcakes were based on Chip’s love for mint chocolate anything.
Today’s baking, however, is in honor of my mother-in-law, Rose. Her health has been failing quickly these last few weeks, and it’s heartbreaking for all of us. The cancer has taken over her entire abdomen. She’s extremely bloated and her ankles are swollen. At only 100 pounds, the extra weight in her tummy and feet are even more pronounced. She is in quite a bit of pain daily, and is popping pain meds often.
My incredibly sweet, caring husband stops by daily to check on her. He claims she cries a lot now, and is very scared of, well, basically everything when she’s alone. Yesterday was her birthday, and only a few weeks ago she was excited about going to the gambling boat with all of us adults. Last week she admitted she didn’t feel like going anymore. Instead, we’re getting as many family members together as possible to meet at her house to celebrate.
Unlike my hubby, I have a hard time expressing how I feel. I’m not a huggy-touchy-feely person, and I don’t allow myself to open up to others. I’m a little insecure that way, but my heart feels love just the same. And I love her. She has meant so much to my immediate family. She has always been very helpful with the kids without being overbearing. While they were young, she dedicated a few days a week to spend one on one time with them. (And even now, she keeps her door open for them should they want to stop by. ) She’s a terrific lady, but I don’t know how to tell her.
So I’m baking.
I chose to make oatmeal creme pies again. Little Debbie’s version is a staple in her house, so I knew this was the right choice for her. I set about making them with all the love I could muster – not knowing if she would even feel like eating.
All afternoon, she turned down lots of opportunities to eat, claiming she wasn’t hungry. But as soon as she saw Amp take a creme pie out of the container, she perked up. “What are those?” she asked.
I proudly explained they were homemade oatmeal creme pie cookies. She held her hand out for one and took a bite immediately. “Mmmmmm….” she exclaimed. “These are delicious. I think I would like some coffee too.”
I watched her savor and enjoy every bite of her treat. I doubt she knows the real reason I baked them. And I don’t know if she’ll ever know how much she has meant to me.
But as I left tonight, I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave her a hug good-bye. If the oatmeal creme pies weren’t clue enough, perhaps the unusualness of my hug will be enough to show her the feelings I am unable to put into words.