A light and beautiful snow was falling as I walked though the quaint streets of the small town I grew up in. The church chimes were playing Christmas carols. The store windows drew eyes with their twinkling colored lights and displays.
I had had misgivings about coming home for the holidays after many years of avoiding the fake holiday cheer , the disparaging judgments, never spoken, but worn on the faces of family. It was time though. Time to say thanks, perhaps for the last time, to my mother. To offer peace to the war between a stubborn parent and a wayward son.
As I entered the old tiny home I had grown up in, I could smell the baking cookies and hear the muted conversations from the kitchen between my mother and aunt. My uncle and brother out in attached shed tasting the hard cider, shouted out “My god! Look what the cat dragged in” as they saw me through the window. Mom stopped cutting cookies and stared. My Aunt rushed over to hug me and scold me for not being there more. My brother gave me a quick hug and my uncle offed a handshake. Mom kept staring, not saying anything. Sensing that we needed to be alone for a minute, the others left leaving me and Mom alone.
We stood there among the cookie making chaos , not talking, searching for what to say. Our last words 10 years before, bitter and angry, “Mom! I’m sorry I didn’t let you know was coming. It was kinda last minute” I stammered. She didn’t respond, just stared for the longest time. “I’m glad you came” she said finally. “Your room is ready as it has been for the last ten years.” Suddenly she shouted “The cookies!” and ran to the stove. Burned cookies never tasted so good.