The old saying goes something like this: “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.”
I say that’s malarkey. I may not be able to choose who my blood relations are, or who my blood relations marry, but to me, family is about far more than blood relations. It’s just as much about who is there for you, who loves you despite your faults, and who has a prominent role in shaping you are as a person. There are a number of people in my life who are not blood relations, but who nevertheless make the cut to be called my family. Among them are The Cookie Bakers.
The Cookie Bakers are a group of people who have been friends for approximately eleventy billion years. Honestly, I don’t know exactly how The Cookie Bakers came to be, but many of them went to college together. What makes them The Cookie Bakers is their practice of spending the whole Thanksgiving Weekend together baking Christmas cookies to enjoy throughout the holiday season. The Cookie Bakers have been at it for decades – I’m not sure if they started before or after the first Cookie Baker Kid was born, but they have certainly been at it since the first set of Cookie Baker Kids were little children.
I was introduced to the Cookie Bakers in 2004, when I started dating the oldest Cookie Baker Kid. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was apparantly a Very Big Deal for someone to bring a girlfriend or boyfriend to Cookie Baking. I had met a few Cookie Bakers prior to this particular weekend – most of them at a birthday party over the summer. I came, I saw, I baked, and I went home and I knew that no matter happened with me and Cookie Baker Kid #1, I was completely sold on their little group. In 2007, I married into the Cookie Baker family, which I guess makes me a Cookie Baker Kid – or at least a Cookie Baker Kid-In-Law.
Cookie Baking weekend involves much, much more than just baking cookies. There are many time honored traditions including Enjoying Crappy Movies On Television, Gossiping About The Cookie Baker Children, Watching Antiques Roadshow, Messing Around With Computers, Fixing Things, Puttering Around In The Basement, Going To MicroCenter To Forage For Gadgets, and Farfelling, which is a blog post topic all by itself. There are also enough rules about how to be a good Cookie Baker participant that one might wish for a protocol droid programmed in the customs of the Cookie Baking culture. For example, you must keep your eye on the oven timers so you don’t burn the cookies, as the process of managing the ovens is roughly is as complicated as landing the space shuttle. You must always RSVP for dinner so our hostess knows how much food to make. And if you call while you are on the way to Cookie Baking, you must always ask if anything is needed because you never know when they’ve run out of flour or need some extra salad dressing for dinner that night.
Just as the weekend of Cookie Baking is about much more than baking the Christmas Cookies, the Cookie Baker crew is much more too – they are family. They have decades of history and love for each other. Like any family, they can drive each other nuts, but when the you-know-what hits the fan, they can count on each other. The Cookie Baker Kids are spread out in age and weren’t necessarily friends in their youth, but as we get older, we are starting to appreciate each other more. The last couple of years, I’ve gotten to be much friendlier with Cookie Baker Kid Katy, and last Sunday morning we got together to work out before she went off to Cookie Baking. She is getting married this summer, and the Cookie Bakers are as important to her wedding guest list as any other family member.
As time goes on and the Cookie Bakers get older and more concerned with things like their glucose and cholesterol levels, the baking cookies part of Cookie Baking becomes less prominent. This year, I saw fewer cookies then I’ve ever seen at the event – but I saw just as much love.
I’m proud to be a Cookie Baker Kid.