I've been running around like the proverbial chicken without a head. 8 batches of cookies, 3 batches of brownies, 72 chocolate covered pretzel sticks, 19 batches of bread, 3 cakes, 2 batches of muffins, 2 batches of cupcakes (and that's not including what my two divine baker elves are whipping up). 9 raffle gift baskets, a regular raffle, 3 carnival games, beverages, hotdogs and fix in's, theater popcorn with machine. Oh yeah, and a f*cking partridge in a pear tree.
I love doing this bake sale on so many levels. Not the least of which, of course, is benefiting an amazing organization, Autism Speaks, that works so hard to level the playing field for families living with autism, like mine. I love working alongside my children to show them what it is to do something for someone other than yourself. I love celebrating 4A and her amazing journey. I love baking. And, apparently, I love biting off more than I can chew (and irritating the shit out of 4Daddy in the process).
Six weeks in the making for our second annual bake sale.
But, I realized this morning, as drank my coffee through blearly and half-closed eyes while baking yet ANOTHER double batch of banana bread, (and only to find out after the fact that I forgot to add the sugar and had to pitch the whole thing and redo....yes....really) that this bake sale has been a lifetime in the making. Several lifetimes actually. Mine, 4A's, and my beloved Grammy's.
Grammy was the real deal. Grammy always helped, no matter what or where with whatever was needed. She always had time to listen to a friend or whip up a pie or a batch of cookies to help a cause. In fact, Grammy's pies were the most coveted item at church suppers. So coveted, in fact, that many folks, including my other grandmother, would go through the dessert line first to make sure they got a slice of her pie.
There's really not anything Grammy ever made that wasn't good. I should clarify that..nothing that she BAKED that wasn't good. I could absolutely do without her scrapple, pork and rice in cabbage, ham salad, or pickled beets and eggs. Way without, in fact. But, her baking. Oh my! "Soft cookies" (which are like little fluffs of buttermilk cake), "dogfood cookies" (no bake peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal delights, lovingly named for their appearance), ginger cookies, Dutch apple pie, kuchen (sweet dough cinnamon rolls and bread), crescent rolls. The list is almost never-ending, but those are my personal faves. And, she taught me how to make them ALL. And, make them I do!
And, here's a funny thing I realized about Grammy a few years after she died. She really DID have your favorite cookie coming out of the oven every time you came over. Honestly.
Oh, and Grammy smelled delicious, just like her house. A combo of Aquanet, Listerine (the brown, original kind), and baking. She gave amazing hugs. She had really cool, knobby, well-used hands. She was enlightened and young for her age.
She loved to sew. She was meticulously organized. She, like all good folks who lived through the Depression, never wasted a thing. Ever. She loved people, and she prayed for them...whether they needed it or not. She was who she was...organically. Not because she worried what people thought of her but because she was really comfy in her own skin. Although, much as she loved golf and didn't judge folks, I figure it's a good thing she passed before Tiger Woods' secret got out. I'm not sure even Grammy could've not judged that one.
Grammy met 4A, and oh how she loved her, like she adored all 19 of her great-grandchildren (and would've adored 4D, the 20th, had she known) and 9 grandchildren. And, I know if Grammy had known about 4A's autism, she would have gotten "it," even in her elder years. She would have prayed for us, 4A and I and the rest of our family. Grammy's quiet and deep faith was her core and, of course, the reason she was so comfy in that skin.
I miss her terribly, and even though she's been gone almost five years, I think of her and miss her literally every day. Especially this past six weeks, when I've made and remade many of her delicious recipes, watched my hands travel over dough and flour and see hers in my mind's eye, walked into a house that smells like hers (minus the Aquanet and Listerine).
Those recipes and these goodies that my kids and I have been making keep her present in our daily lives. That and her flour scoop and teaspoons that I use every day, including this morning.
I realized this morning, in my exhausted and worn-out state, how wonderfully lucky I am to have had both of these souls in my life, Grammy and my 4A. One taught me by example how to be at peace with myself and my life. The other called me to remember those lessons and put them into daily practice. Each has brought me closer to the other and to the person I ultimately hope to be.
It is an honor to be the bridge between these two amazing souls. A gift to be able to call them mine.