I Know Things

If you stuck a plug in me I could light up the entire neighborhood. I am wired up to the gills with sugar. It started early, at the office, with Jackie’s incredibly clever gift box full of sweet things that were all connected in some way to sugar. And this note she wrote; I’m so far gone I cannot remember anything it said, except something about being “mint” for something more. Or something like that. And maybe “If your day is a dud”. Or something like that. The end result was a cute note and a box full of candy. 100,000 Grand Bars (yum). Peppermint Patties, oh yes. Milk Duds, nom nom nom. I didn’t get through half of it but I kept hitting it hard.

I only slept for two hours last night. Why?

I don’t know. Dozed off, woke up, couldn’t sleep. Got up. Can’t believe I made it through the day. I imagine the sugar helped, along with starting at Starbucks, where they gave me half a cup refill for free.

Love Starbucks at Westchester.

Worked, cooked dinner, then decided it was high time my JMU girl got a box from home. Started in on the cookie baking.

I am a sucker for cookie dough. I probably eat the equivalent of a dozen cookies in dough.

I fight the kids for the dough.

By the time the cookies are done, I’m ready to throw up.


I started putting together the ingredients for the Tollhouse Chocolate Chips and was a bit surprised to realize that I didn’t need to look at the recipe on the package. (Which is good, because these days I am having such a hard time seeing small print…curse you, ever-advancing-age-issues!)

I remember.

“Bake at 375…3/4 brown sugar, 3/4 sugar…2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla….”

I didn’t even have to think about it.

And for a moment I was in my mom’s kitchen, watching her manipulate ingredients for this same recipe without looking. I remember asking her how she knew.

She just knew.

Part of the finished product

These days, it’s me that just knows. I know, and they come out nearly perfect every time, unless I put them in the oven and then wander off to color my hair, because I’ve forgotten that I’m in the middle of baking cookies…but that’s another post, isn’t it? Anyway, I can make these cookies by heart, just like I can hear one of them cry out and know instantly whether or not it’s serious. Like I can take one look at Syd’s face and know what kind of day she had.

Like I can sense when we’ve put off doing the laundry too long. Like I intuitively know that we need milk because I know how much they drink.

Like I can make a killer pot of chicken soup, making it up as I go along. Like I know what biscuit dough feels like when there’s enough milk. Like I know each kid by the shape of their foot, even now. Like I know anything I’ve ever known.

I say none of these things to brag about myself. It’s a revelation for me, really, that I have finally arrived.

The night before she left I made homemade chicken strips for Shannon. Rice, beans, a huge pile of chicken. The crowning touch: homemade cream gravy for the rice and the chicken.

I emptied the cast iron fryer, leaving just enough grease. Added the flour. Started in with the milk, alternating with water, a little salt. I made the girls watch, let them whisk until it thickened. Showed them how to pop their finger in for a taste without getting burned. Did it all by feel and intuition; no recipe, just enough of this and a little more of that.

Somewhere along the way, I arrived.  I know things.

And I’m ready to pass them down, these things that are intuitive, internal, hard-wired into my soul.

I do believe that this is what it feels like to grow up. And as I do, I sure do love my mom more and more. Because she’s known all this for a long, long time.

2 thoughts on “I Know Things

  1. I loved reading this, Beth! I don't always feel that way (sometimes I wonder why in the world I can't get it together/keep it together like some women) but when I do…it's such a great feeling!


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