What goes around comes around

My kitchen was sunshine bright, made so, not only by the golden shards of light that manage to pierce through my less than sparkling clean

My kitchen was sunshine bright, made so, not only by the golden shards of light that manage to pierce through my less than sparkling clean dining room window, but by my two granddaughters, who had come to visit.

I had sent out the e-mail a few days ago, inviting them to my house to make a kindness basket for someone, filled with cookies, other little trinkets, and, of course, in the empty spots, huge amounts of love. In my mind, where things like this take off with the speed of light, and are not confused in any way with common sense, I pictured a perfect scenario where I would connect; really connect with my granddaughters. In the process, I would, in an underhanded, sneaky way, teach them how much better it is to give than to receive.

I was slightly surprised when it actually happened.

I sent out the e-mail, forgot about it, and got back to work.

Both moms responded with a resounding ‘yes.’

“Oh, my goodness, I muttered to me, as no one else was even in the vicinity, “now what?” Can I really pull this off? Can I bring these precious little souls into my world and, in the process, create a whole lot more than cookies?

“You won’t know until you try,” I answered myself. “So just do it.”

It was not a perfect afternoon, at least not in the same way perfection exists in my head.

For one thing I seemed to have in my jumbled cupboards where things are supposed to be all neat and tidy but aren’t, only Christmas cookie cutters, and not any Halloween ones. And, I couldn’t seem to find little gifts to fill in the spaces in the baskets that weren’t otherwise to be filled with cookies. And, for another the only ‘kindness’ baskets I could find seemed huge, and I found myself feeling kind of stingy about how much ‘kindness’ I actually wanted to give away.

With all this imperfection going on, it’s amazing what happened.

I, who was supposed to be the giver, got the most back.

And, as the kitchen clock ticked away the afternoon, and the girls rolled, cut out and decorated their cookies, we truly did make something a whole lot more important than baskets.

We made memories.

The cookies themselves were a work of art. Each one was unique. Some were paper thin, burned, slightly crispy, some were headless cookie men and some were unidentifiable.

But, they came out of grandma’s kitchen and they truly were for all of us, a labour of love.

And, as the afternoon wore on it became increasingly clear to me that the less than perfect parts of the time spent with my granddaughters would be filled with unexpected pieces of delight.

And somehow in the process of rolling and cutting and decorating cookies, the girls gave me temporary visiting rights to their own little world. I learned about their music, their friends, their challenges, their likes, their dislikes and that one of them loves tea with honey, and one wanted to know how many cookies she could take for her own lunch.

They were so delightful, these girls. I just wanted to hug them, and touch their silky heads for no other reason than just because, but mostly I just listened and was secretly grateful when they turned their music off.

The baskets were filled with creativity, imagination and, most importantly, cookies.

And when my afternoon guests departed and I was left with sticky counters, clutter and a few broken and burned cookies, I was amazingly pleased with myself.

Even smug.

Because weirdly enough, I was the benefactor of the lesson I was going to teach my granddaughters. I reflected on that thought as I helped myself to one of the burned, broken cookies on my counter.

It was surprisingly delicious!

— On The Other Side