There are cookies in the oven as I write this, and more cooling on the table. They smell sweet and fresh and tempting. But they are not quite as tempting as they were in the day when the house was full.
Tonight, my husband has a cold and cannot smell the cookies. He's not especially fond of them anyway. I am baking for the office tomorrow, knowing that the treats I bring to the office coffee hour are always appreciated, usually with glee. I enjoy that.
And still, the cookies are not as much fun without boys in the house barely able to wait for the cookies to come out of the oven. I swear cookies smell better when they are baking in a house where they are eagerly anticipated.
By tomorrow, I will have made six or eight dozen cookies. Over the next three weeks, I will bake four or five times that many. I will make interesting variations on shortbread and I will make decadent squares and I will make healthier biscotti and I will make sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies that remind me of the days when my house was full of kids. I will decorate some of them so that they are truly lovely on the sweets trays in mid-afternoon or after large dinners.
And I will remember cookies, lopsided with icing and thickly coated with sparkles and candies. Sometimes perfect is just a pale imitation of what we really treasure.