Two Days Before Christmas

Two days before Christmas,
I awake to her baking
Cookies, bars, and a turkey.
I sit at the dining room table
And wonder how she does it.
Her hands know the measurements
She doesn’t even need the cup
Her eyes roam over her success
Laid out in each cookie, each bar
Cooling on the countertop.
As she cools her head, she thinks out loud in unstructured sentences.
I shuffle my papers and she glances over at me,
Noticing the unfamiliar noise in her dining room kitchen
“Oh good, you’re awake. I need you to run to the store.
In an hour I’ll be out of milk, eggs, and cocoa” she says to me.
I shake my head and wonder how she can know that she’ll be out of something in an hour
But she is my mother
And she is always prepared
I get up to go get my keys
“Not so fast” she says to me, and hands me a warm cookie
“Tell me how they are”
I take a bite and become five years old again
Standing in our kitchen, not yet seeing over
Our old yellow and brown countertops
Dressed in my acid wash overalls and red long sleeved shirt
With my hair tangled in front of my face
Her in her plaid button down shirt
And Lee jeans with her short cut, jet black hair always in place
She hands me cookies from the countertop and asks me
The same question she will ask me year after year for the next twenty years of my life
“Tell me how they are”
I take a bite, and then I look up at her, my five-year-old eyes glowing
“They taste super,” I would say, with chocolate already smeared on my face.
But now today, because I’m grown-up, after I take a small, polite non-messy bite
I say to her in my most adult voice:
“They taste great.”
“Great?” She says, pausing from mixing the next batch. “That’s all?”
She looks lost.
I pause for a moment looking back at her, and the five-year-old girl inside of me
Tells me what to say to clear up the confusion.
I start to smile, revealing the chocolate that’s been mistakenly caught in my teeth
I look down at the half bitten cookie, and then back up at her.
“Super, mom” I say. “They taste super.”
She is satisfied and begins to stir the next batch.
I leave the house and warm up my car so I can go to the store and buy the ingredients
That she’ll be out of in an hour.

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