We’re snowed in today. I resisted blogging about it because I can imagine the countless number of blogs that will begin, “We’re snowed in today”. But I must remind myself that what I have to say is specific and unique to my own personal snowed-in day. Or not. Fact is, there is only so much a family can do on a snow day. There are the outdoor activities; snowmen construction, sledding, snowball warfare. And then there are all the indoor diversions like games and crafts and the occasional movie.
We have yet to participate in any of those outdoor activities. It’s cold outside. I hate the cold. Luckily (or not), my elder child inherited an extreme dislike for the cold. “I’m an indoor person,” he tells me often, and I have to agree that cold weather sucks though I choose alternate descriptives when concurring with him. While I try to encourage him to bundle up and face the elements so that he can enjoy the wonders of winter, he can hear the disingenuous tones and knows that I, myself, do not believe in the fallacy of the wonders of winter.
At this moment, Gabriella is baking her second batch of cuccidati. Her mother, Rosa, made these Christmas cookies each year and, knowing that Gabriella loved them, she sent them to her by the bucket no matter how long it took to make them or where that bucket needed to go. She sent them to Chicago, and she sent them to London. She’d spend hours in the kitchen making the fig and chocolate filling. Hours more perfecting the soft, lemony dough and making the vanilla icing that added that perfect layer of sweetness and a home for festive sprinkles. Every Christmas since Rosa died 8 years ago, Gabriella swore that she was going to make those cookies but something always got in the way. This year, is the year of the cuccidati. After the first batch came out of the oven, Gabriella presented them to me fresh out of the oven, still on the baking sheet her eyes red and puffy but her smile satisfied and proud. There was no better way to honor Rosa’s sweet memory.
You know, spending so much time indoors, a girl can get all sentimental. This is taking an unintentional shmaltzy path. Let’s switch gears, shall we? It may not be a smooth segue, but I need to make a sharp turn before I start telling you all about how I was watching Toy Story 3 with the boys and saw Asher and Levi grow up and pack for college and leave me and their childhoods behind without a second thought.
So, the other day, Asher was doing his homework. The subject at hand was the word “have”. At this age, first graders must memorize how to spell lots of little words whose spelling and pronunciation are at odds. Like “you” and “who”, such is the word “have”. Writing is not one of Asher’s favorite things to do. From concept to execution, writing is torture. He also does not like to make mistakes. Few children do. He often writes bs as ds and vice verse. He forgets to use upper case letters at the beginning sentences. He berates himself for not knowing how to spell. My job is to try to make the process as painless as possible.
Deborah: Ok, Asher, you have to think of a sentence using the word ‘have’ and write it down. It’s a good thing your teachers gave you such an easy assignment. You can do that, right?
Asher: I guess.
Deborah: Think of things you have.
Asher: I know! Don’t look until I’m finished.
Deborah: Well, your letters are VERY neat, Asher, and you remembered to use a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence. Well done. Can you tell me what the sentence says? You may need some help with spelling.
Asher: Sure. I have a bike.
Deborah: Fantastic. Let me help you with your ‘b’ and correct your spelling just a bit.
The thought occurred to me to let it ride. I could add a post-it note with an explanation or I could just wait for the phone call, but instead I chose to let Asher erase the misspelled word thoroughly and start fresh. Somehow, I didn’t think that the teachers would see the humor in Asher’s original sentence:
I have a dick.
I may not bake cuccidati, but I can serve up stories that are just as memorable and sweet...or humiliating depending on Asher's sense of humor.