A quarter century, beginning when my oldest daughter was two, we’ve made these cookies for Grandpa’s birthday, which falls one week before Christmas. To the best of my memory we’ve never missed a year and we’ve never delivered them in person. They may or may not arrive on time, but they always arrive. Made from a recipe from Great Grandma’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with Grandma’s suit of cards and Christmas cookie cutters, added to by Mom and daughters – shark, dog bone, acorn, unicorn.
The importance of the cookies is the interaction, a mother and daughter production for the family patriarch. And, so, there are no photographs, other than a fuzzy photo second production year and one this year, bookends of each daughter. Traditions, you see, like children change over time. Aspiration never trumps priorities and practicalities dictated, this year, one daughter one night and the other, the next.
I don’t keep notes of who, what, how or why. I know one year one daughter was in Belgium, the next she asked me to postpone cookie making until Christmas break. One year one daughter had a date on Cookie Day, which was broken, not by her. Every cookie heart she stabbed with a knife.
Grandpa will be 88 this year. He has been “terminally ill” for six or eight years with ALS. Every year on Cookie Day I tell my daughters that this may be the last time we make cookies for him. Saying this has become part of the cookie making and thus, also tradition. My younger daughter saying she no longer believes it is irrelevant.
As for Grandpa, he still loves his ginger cookies.