How many of you out there consider yourselves to be Type A people? I don’t fall completely into that category, but I do have strong tendencies toward it. And I used to be a whole lot worse. Little things would get to me so badly. Spilled milk would literally bring me to tears at times. Especially if the milk were spilled right after I’d mopped the floor which usually was the only time that ever seemed to happen. Looking back, I can laugh now at just how ridiculous this reaction was. I’ve lightened up and let go quite a bit in the last few years.
However, there are still things that just make my skin crawl and illicit strange reactions, usually laced with a slew of profanities that are normally reserved for the really bad things in life. Things that don’t seem to affect the Type B people in the world. Things like spilling something on my clothes; mud tracked on the floors, especially if I’ve just swept or mopped; mascara being smudged on my face instead of my eyelashes in a hurried, frenzied attempt to get ready when I’m running late; people who cannot drive and should not be allowed to operate a vehicle, but always decide to pull out in front of me when I’m in a hurry.
And then, there’s the one that inspired me to write today. And this is something I’ve done more often than I care to admit.
How many of you have went to cook/bake something and only after you’ve started realized that you didn’t have all the ingredients needed to make whatever it was you were cooking/baking? Now, you’d think as many times as I’ve done this that I’d look and make sure that I have everything necessary before undertaking anymore cooking/baking. Nope. Not me. I still find this happening at least once or twice every few months. And the stress levels are always higher during the holidays, which leads to me forgetting ingredients even more so than usual, which also leads into a much more dramatic meltdown when the moment actually arrives when I figure out that I don’t have what’s needed and necessary to complete my cooking/baking.
This year was no different, as far as the forgetting goes.
We made cookies for Santa this year, just like a lot of folks do. We were going to make Mountain Man’s Mom’s sour cream cookies, but we waited too long and ended up just making some plain old sugar cookies. I don’t think Santa has a preference on cookies, but those sour cream cookies are pretty darn tasty. Well, that was strike one. I really had my heart set on making those cookies this year. But, I put all that aside and just went with the easier sugar cookie recipe that I could whip up rather quickly. No melt down. Not yet, anyway.
We got the cookies baked and set them aside to cool while we all got ready to go to my family’s Christmas get-together on Christmas Eve. We planned to decorate them that night once we returned from the big family festivities. Waiting until late Christmas Eve to decorate Santa’s cookies with a seven year old, strike two. Last minute things always stress me out. I’m a planner. A doer. I don’t like feeling rushed. I get sweaty and I just wanna throw up. But, I put all that aside and I tried just rolling with the punches. Playing it by ear. Enjoying the moment and not stressing about the time crunch. Santa surely wouldn’t stop by while we were still decorating cookies for him? Would he? And surely he wouldn’t just skip right over our house if we were still up at midnight covered in frosting and enjoying a little sugar high from all the cookies and frosting we were eating and licking off our fingers during this little last minute Christmas project?
Now, for me, having these two things already going against every grain and fiber of my being to just slip into a full on holiday melt down, but refraining and actually relaxing and embracing the new and last minuteness of all this Christmas madness was a feat in and of itself. I was so proud of myself at this point.
Then, it happened.
Somewhere around 10 o’clock, Christmas Eve, after mixing the four or five bowls of frosting up, I opened the cabinet to get the food coloring out so I could tint the frosting for the cookies. See the pattern here, after mixing the frosting, then and only then, did I look for my other essential ingredient. Bright red, vivid green, bold blue, vibrant yellow. You know, Christmas colors. Guess what we were out of? Yep, you got it. Red, green, blue and yellow food coloring. And I just knew we had these items in the house. I knew it! I pulled every single item out of that cabinet looking for those elusive colors. They weren’t there.
However, we did have a box of neon food coloring. Neon food coloring. Who has neon food coloring just lying around their kitchen? I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d bought those colors for. Oh, wait. It just came to me. I bought them for decorating little girl’s birthday cakes. So anyway, in this box of neon colors, we had fabulous shades of purple, pink, yellow/green and blue. Absolutely not anything that even remotely resembled Christmas colors!
I could feel the demon rising inside me. I could feel the melt down coming on. I’d been able to keep it at bay with the other two things that usually would’ve set me off. Why oh why hadn’t I checked to make sure we’d had the right colors for Christmas cookies? How could I have over looked something so important? And on Christmas Eve! Of all days to forget something so crucial!!!! What was wrong with me??? How could I be so stupid!!!!???!!!!
None of these thoughts found their way to my mouth. Thank God! And about the time the sweat beads started to form and the nausea was just about to kick in and the words were ready to spill out, Mountain Man came to the rescue. God love him. He’s one of those Type B people. At times like these, I envy him so much. I think he knew I was fixing to just dissolve into tears because he walked over and touched me gently and started explaining how it didn’t matter that we didn’t have the traditional Christmas colors for our Christmas cookies. They didn’t have to be bright red, vivid green, bold blue or vibrant yellow to be Christmasy. We’d have funky, psychedelic Christmas cookies this year!
He explained to me that the best memories are sometimes born out of the most unexpected things. And he’s right. I knew in that moment that he was right and I could actually feel my melt down start to dissipate as he spoke. The little beads of sweat just went away and my nauseousness disappeared. Mountain Man talked about one day in the far off future, how his little girl would always remember the psychedelic funky Christmas cookies from the year we didn’t have any regular food colors. And I really hope he’s right. I hope we talk about the funky Christmas cookies for many years to come. My youngest son still talks about the year that I sprinkled nutmeg all over the turkey instead of poultry seasoning because I was in a hurry and grabbed the wrong thing out of the cabinet. I freaked out thinking the turkey would be awful, but it turned out to be one the best ones I ever made. And he will always remember that.
Change can be a very scary thing for some people. It can be a terrifying thing for us Type A people. And even though I’m not on the extreme side of the Type A spectrum, I do know that I have tendencies to go overboard sometimes. I like to think that our funky psychedelic Christmas cookies helped me overcome a great obstacle in life. I hope that I can approach all future cooking/baking dilemmas where I’ve forgotten a seemingly crucial ingredient with a different attitude. One with hope and optimism instead of profanities spewing and nausea inducing stress. Perhaps it’ll even spill over to different areas of my life as well.
I’ve just got to keep reminding myself that it’s the little things in life that mean so much. Especially the unexpected ones.
I have to thank my Mountain Man for pointing this out to me and reminding me that this would be something wonderful to write about. I don’t know what I’d do without him.