I have many friends. Friends who cook lovely things for their families. Friends who design cards and jewellery. Friends who paint and decorate and convert junk into lovely pieces of art. Friends who bake.
And, believe it or not (because mostly I don't believe it!) they actually LIKE IT. And I envy.
My grandmothers both were women who baked and cooked. My mother's mother baked goodies that are intrinsically intertwined with my childhood memories. We each had a cookie named after us. Our favorites were always pulled from the freezer and set out the instant we walked in her front door. The front door of her spotless house I should point out.
The domestic gene died out two generations ago. The baking gene missed my mother and my childhood memories of baking at home are horror filled occasions of chopping sticky, glompy, awful dates for my mother's sticky, glompy, awful date loaf. Decorating? We went years in a gorgeous 4500 sq foot home with no paint on the walls because no one could be bothered. We were clean, but it was not an act of enjoyment for anyone.
The baking gene is completely absent in me. I have a housekeeping gene, but usually it is left down at the rink or hidden under the piles of laundry 4 active boys generate.
But what is it about the Christmas Season that pulls out that desperate need in all of us to prove our worth as Domestic Goddesses? And so I threw a weekend away trying to generate memories with my sons.
Greg asked to bake with me. So we baked. Actually, we burnt. Batch after batch of ruined cookies. Never Fail Ginger Snaps that failed. Apple pie with crust like cardboard. Brownies that stick in the pan. Cinnamon bread without enough cinnamon. Sugar cookies that will never get iced because the recipe has baffled me.
I can tie skates, tell a slap shot from a backhand, run a time clock and keep a score sheet. I can drive in the snow and wake up at 5 to bring a son to hockey practice. I can cook a dinner with a three step recipe and provide plenty of fruit and vegetables as long as you like them raw.
I cannot convert black feathers into artistic Christmas decorations. I cannot make perfectly creative jewellery. I will not fashion menu cards for Thanksgiving Dinner. I will not coordinate my living room furniture with the lights on my Christmas Tree. My towels only match on laundry day. My floors look like I live in a house with 4 boys and a dog. My kitchen is more often dirty than clean.
Take it or leave it, that's me. And I'd take a picture of my kitchen looking like a bakery exploded if I could find the camera. But I can't. I think its hidden under the laundry.
PS. For Christmas each year since I have had children my long suffering and very patient mother in law sends a box of Christmas baking to my family. A LARGE box of Christmas baking that allows me to pretend that I actually know what I am doing during the entertaining season. Did I mention she has a triple dose of the Domestic Goddess gene and her son, my husband got the shock of his life when he married me and realized it was not universal? Ah yeah, the adjustment of married life.