The other day, Elder decided to bake cookies.
Sitting at the island, supposedly reading my Kindle, I decided to watch — unobtrusively. Except that plan went awry fairly quickly. To be specific, it went awry the moment I realized he was carelessly scooping spoonful after spoonful of flour then dumping the heaping mounds into the measuring cup that sit in position several inches away.
Eyeing the flour that wasn’t making it the full distance to the cup, I said, “It would be easier just to stick the cup into the flour.”
“This is how she showed us to do it,” he responded, intent on the rhythm of his scoop, dump, scoop, dump.
She is the teacher of the cooking class at the middle school. Because she is apparently an authority, sanctioned by a degree, Elder has little interest in contradicting advice from his mother, who, while he is at the age of seventeen, isn’t an authority in anything. I expect I’ll get smarter as he gets older. We’ll see.
“Well, apparently, she isn’t the one buying the flour,” I responded snottily. I get snotty sometimes. Maybe a lot of times. I expect I’ll get less snotty as he gets older. We’ll see.
“I’ve got this under control,” Elder assured me. “Don’t you worry.”
And that’s when I noticed he had lined the counter with tinfoil. And, sure enough, within a few minutes, having reached the stated amount of flour, he carefully lifted the strip of tinfoil, shaking all the spilled flour back into the original container. Then he wadded up the tinfoil, threw it away, and tore another strip.
For the sugar.
“Well, then she’s not the one buying tinfoil,” I said, still snotty.
His father walked by, glanced at Elder transporting sugar from the container to the measuring cup by messy spoonfuls, and said, “I’m starting to understand how you get flour into closed cabinets when you cook.”
Which has always been a mystery to us. But Elder has always been a little distracted. Flour in cabinets he never opened while baking is one of the smaller mysteries.
But then I realized this seventeen-year-old young man was baking cookies. And I shouldn’t give him grief. I should enjoy him. So, I sealed my mouth shut. Until he banged a wooden spoon against the measuring cup to insure he had loosened every grain of sugar. That’s when I giggled.
And then he added sticks of butter to the bowl like bombs from an air raid.
“Not everything I do is funny, Mom,” he told me, peering at the recipe.
“No, I know, I’m sorry.” And I tried to be good. Except he turned on the mixer and I was suddenly ducking my head and throwing up my arms in the sudden shower of butter and sugar, giggling even harder. “I think, maybe, I should go upstairs.” Gathering my Kindle and phone, I beat a hasty retreat to my bedroom.
About twenty minutes later, dutifully restrained, I ventured back into the kitchen for a drink, finding Elder at the island concentrating on dropping just the right amount of dough on the baking sheet. Beside him, cooling on paper towels, was the first batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Completely satisfied with himself, Elder announced, “Those are some good looking cookies.”
“Yes,” I agreed around my grin. “They surely are. Those are some good looking cookies.”
Standing at over six feet tall, muscles defined after three years of weights as well as baseball, basketball, and football, hair long, curly, and messy, because he has refused to cut it in six months in accordance with a contest between him and a friend — same with the scraggly beard — he is emerging into an adult. One that I respect and admire.
But it’s the little boy moments that keep him sweet.
And those surely were some good looking cookies.