From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Cookie Cutter Connection

Let me not forget that I am the daughter of a woman . . . who herself never ceased to flower, untiringly, during three quarters of a century.


I couldn’t remember exactly how we’d made them— just that it was sort of like making cookies: rolling the dough, cutting the shapes, baking the ornaments. All I knew was that this Christmas my preschool daughters were dexterous enough to create the kind of ornaments I used to make with my own mother when I was a little girl.

The thought brought an extra twinge of loneliness as I faced this first holiday season without Mom and the realization that I couldn’t just call her for the recipe we’d used.

After tossing and turning in bed one night, I crept from its warmth to the chill of the basement. I dug through a box of my mom’s possessions—tattered letters, greeting cards, photographs. At the bottom I found what I’d been searching for: her cookbook. The cover was faded with age, the spine ripped from years of use.

Yellowed newspaper clippings and recipes torn from magazines fluttered to my lap as I thumbed the pages. There! At the back—in Mom’s own handwriting—I discovered a small sheet of paper titled, “Dough Ornaments.” With moist eyes, I traced my fingers over the words, feeling a connection. Satisfied, I returned to bed.

Tomorrow, I’ll share a bit of my mom with the girls. I drifted to sleep with a sense of peace and determination.

The next day, with Mom’s favorite Christmas CD filling the room, the girls and I went to work. Rolling. Cutting. Baking. How I wish Mom could share this moment, I thought.

Our first batch, we decided, would make nice gifts for friends and relatives. My three-year-old thoughtfully held up an ornament in the shape of an angel. “Mommy, this one’s for Grandma.”

The familiar ache of Mom’s death knotted my throat and my heart.

“Grandma’s in heaven,” my four-year-old announced. “You can’t give her an ornament.”

“That’s okay,” she shrugged. “I’ll just hang it way up high on the tree so Grandma can see it from heaven.”

I couldn’t stifle the tears any longer as I wrapped my daughters in a tight hug. Together, we went to the tree and hung the angel on the very tallest branch we could find. And I smiled at the ornament the girls and I had crafted.

A legacy. Mother-to-daughter.

Tessa Floehr

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