This weekend, I baked Father’s Day cookies for my dear father-in-law, Art, whom we call Papa. Just a cookie, you might say, but for me this simple act of love is wrapped up in history and emotions.
Many of you know that my mom was a prolific cookie-baker who made thousands of cookies for friends, family, and Boy Scouts. It was one of the many acts of kindness for which she was best known. While I will probably never surpass the sheer numbers of cookies she baked, it’s something I love to do as well, and I have her mixer and use her “recipes.”
My dad loved my chocolate chip cookies more than any other gift I could give him. He would put them in the freezer and dole them out to himself one or two at a time, making a batch of cookies last for months. In fact, I made him a batch in his final days (when you are feeling helpless and don’t know what else to do, bake), and one of my cookies was the very last thing he ate before he died. He wasn’t eating by then, and I know how hard it must have been for him to finish it, but he was giving me that one last gift, too.
That was the last batch of cookies I made, until this weekend. I knew that it was time to bake again, time to celebrate Papa, who treats me as his own daughter.
I used a new recipe this time, though. These cookies include not only flour and eggs and chocolate chips and vanilla, but a dash of Mama J’s spice, a sprinkle of memories of my dad, a pinch of history and loss and joy. They are so much more than just a sweet treat, a delicious gift, a meaningful gesture—and I know that my Papa is tasting the love in every bite.