It's not about the cookies

“Who cares?”

I was shocked to hear these words come out of my mouth. It was Friday night at the end of a long, emotionally and physically exhausting week. I was picking up my girls from my mom, where they had been peacefully playing and making cookies for a school Christmas cookie exchange, a long loved Shady Oak Kindergarten tradition.

To be honest, when I saw the note about the Home Project to make cookies, it felt like another to do, another thing I would have to find time for. As a business owner and mom, I’m finding it easy to fall into that heavy mindset all too often. I’m great at asking my clients deep reflective questions like, “what are you looking forward to this season?” Yet when that client asked me the same question, I felt stumped. It wasn’t easy for me to find the words or to connect to my joy and anticipation.

So when mom mentioned that someone had ordered cookies instead of making them at home, which was the whole point, I responded “who cares?” I felt like a teenager snapping back at her.

Thankfully, my mom and I have the kind of relationship where we work through these sticky moments rather than dismissing them. I called her a few minutes later to explain and process my unexpected response:

I said who cares, because we’re all so exhausted and just trying to get everything done. I said who cares because it feels like a harsh judgement to say that a family that buys cookies instead of baking them is somehow not doing things right. Maybe that’s their way of freeing up time to do other things!?

“We care,” she said, as if to speak for all mothers and elders of generations past.

And then I got it. Like so many things in life and parenting, when I slow down and shift my perspective, I can see more clearly. When I stay with the discomfort of vulnerability and get curious about my icky feelings, the truth appears.

The cookie exchange isn’t about the cookies. It’s about connection. It’s about slowing down. It’s about being present with our children. It’s not about the cookies. It’s an opportunity to feel the way we all want to feel - present, peaceful, joyful and connected.

So thank you, mom. Thank you for caring. Thank you for staying in the conversation with us who are struggling to find our way to a connected, present life amidst the chaos of our culture. Thank you for being a lighthouse and reminding us of what is most important.