I chalk it up to hubris.
I had such an extraordinarily productive morning– cleaning the house, picking up toys, vacuuming the half-gallon of pine needles from under our Christmas tree – I thought I would bake cut-out cookies with all three children, right before dinner, all by myself.
Idiot. I say that fondly, but still. Idiot.
The older kids, ages 7 and 5, were helpful and excited. Maybe a little too excited. Connor couldn’t stop eating scraps of dough, and Natalie was a tad overzealous with the horse cookie cutters. (I guess the holy family will be traveling to Bethlehem on nobler steeds this year.) Teyla, at 11 months, stood in her high chair and loudly proclaimed her displeasure, both with her confinement and her lack of cookie-cutting involvement.
The oven smoldered as it preheated. Apparently, the chicken pot pie I made Sunday night had bubbled over more than I thought. The phone rang. My sister had a question about a Christmas present. Connor popped another quarter-sized piece of dough in his mouth. The phone rang again. It was someone from the animal rescue organization; would we want to come see one of their dogs tomorrow? The baby decided to get the heck out of Dodge by crawling out onto her high chair tray. I threw two trays of cookies into the oven. A black cloud billowed out at me. I opened the door to our deck, the better to keep the smoke detectors silent. Natalie decided to make another horse for Christmas.
Is it any wonder that half of the cookies ended up overdone? They weren’t burnt, exactly. But they weren’t golden and beautiful, either. They were a little too brown, a little too crunchy.
Just like me at Christmas.
I try to do too much. No matter how much I aim to simplify, I end up with a To Do List that rivals Santa’s. And I wind up overdone. Not burned all the way. Not in full-down Brittany Spears melt-down mode. Just crispy and hard and brittle around the edges.
It’s not worth it. I know that already, but tonight, two dozen molasses-colored cookies reminded me again. It’s not worth it. Better to bake one batch of cookies and enjoy it than to bake 12 varieties and be annoyed with my kids the whole time when they want to taste the dough. Better to leave the laundry unfolded on top of the dryer than to stay up until the wee hours of the morning so my house will be perfectly in order on December 25. Better to spend some time being quiet before the One who’s birth we celebrate than to have a holiday filled with all kinds of sentimentality but none of truth.
Unfortunately, there’s no real fix for overdone sugar cookies. (Although frosting helps.)
But for an overdone spirit? There’s relief every sunrise.
This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
May your Christmas shine golden with His love and faithfulness. Even if your cookies are overdone.
Kelly also blogs at Love Well.