Welcome Home Cookies

Have you ever tried to tell your children
how much you love them?

Sometimes, when the stars are high in the navy sky
and a peaceful breeze is whispering in my children’s rooms, I do.
The first attempt generally begins
In language common to any child old enough to cradle a hand of cards
and wise enough to know how to sneak the Old Maid to their little sister:
The Contest.
“I love you more than a thousand midnights on the moon.”
“I love you deeper than a featherbed caught in a quicksand lake.”
“I love you as big as a banana sucking on helium.”
The kids never win these competitions.
They giggle, then give up, always content to leave me victorious.
And, leave me, they do.
Asking for blanket to be tucked around chin.
Answering the evening invitation from feather lashes
waving them into dreamland.
Tucked into the corner of their twin-sized beds, head resting on hand,
I watch as smiling cheeks slacken–then soften–into cherubic rounds.
I realize winning the bedtime contest of words wasn’t enough.
They can’t possibly know how much
how much
how much
I love them.
So, I try again in the morning with: The Squish.
It’s always accompanied with wine-pressed words:
My arms squash around warm breakfast in bellies,
snuggle tightly the carefully buttoned school clothes.
I press fingers to home-cut hair,
Pink nails I clipped on Sunday afternoon.
My lips kiss their fresh-bathed faces, Q-tipped ears.
The kids often eye-roll through these sessions.
They squirm until they leave my consuming grasp.
And, leave me they do.
Asking to hold my hand as we walk out the door.
Answering the taskmaster bell which rings in the new school year.
Walking the quiet path home, fingers still warm from their little hands, I realize
No matter what they learn in first or fourth grade
No matter how good their teachers try
They’ll never know how much
how much
how much
I love them.
Until they try tucking to sleep,
watching backpacks bob away to school,
waiting with a plate of warm cookies to welcome home
their own children.
And then, try to tell them how much.

Welcome Home Cookies
If you can bake a lot of love into anything, you can most certainly do it with this recipe. I created these cookies to be made big. No…massive. No–GIGANTUOUS. A hunk of dough will spread into perfectly fat cookie rounds, crisp on the outside with a center full of chocolate and just a bit of gooeyness. While I’m sure chocolate chips could do, I think a big cookie should most certainly be graced by monstrously large chips, so used gigantor candy melts to obtain the size, color, and boom-pop flavor that will have you wishing they were small enough to eat a second helping. What could possibly make these cookies any better, you ask? Why, the fact that they are made using only whole wheat flour. I simply can’t think of a better way to welcome your sweet ones home from their first week of school.

3 sticks butter
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. butter & nut flavoring
(or butter flavoring AND a few drops of almond, if desired)
1 tsp. real vanilla
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 pound candy wafers
Cream together butter and brown sugar and eggs until supremely creamy. Add all other ingredients, including all but 1/2 cup of the candy wafers. (I HIGHLY reccommend mixing dark chocolate wafers with milk and colored to keep these from being overly sweet.) Once well mixed, 1/4 cup of dough into a ball. Press remaining wafers on the outside of each ball of dough to give your cooked cookies a nice, colorful final appearance. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes.