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The Working Mom - 12/26/11


Thu, Dec 22nd, 2011
Posted in Columnists

Finding the Spirit

With the Christmas season (yes, I said Christmas and not "holiday") filling the air with kind spirits and rekindled sentiment, it is easy to get consumed by the warm feelings that Christmas brings. Childhood memories become clearer as I unwrap each tree decoration and those memories are the reason for my eyes being misty for most of December. But every once in a while, a new memory edges its way in as it did one cold and rainy December night two weeks ago.

Just recently, I had the pleasure of judging a baking contest in Chatfield. My partner judge, Shirley, was just as I remembered her...kind, funny, and quick with a joke, and I can see why my mom enjoyed her company. As the baking contest got underway, we were surprised to find two little girls who had both submitted a recipe and, along with their parents, brought their wrapped treasures to be judged. This was unexpected, because even though there was no age limitation, only adults had entered in the last three contests where I judged. As they smiled and hovered over the items they brought, I asked the girls to make sure not to tell me what they brought because it was supposed to be a secret---the recipes were not tagged with the creator's name so we judges would not be biased in any way. However, as they proudly and quickly pointed to their plate of goodies, the secret was out. So Shirley and I tasted our way through many candies, cookies, and Norwegian baking before ranking our list of favorites---a very difficult task. The two girls' recipes did not rank them at the top of their categories, but there was one more award to be handed out. I let the contestants know that I wanted to choose one recipe to be printed in my column this week, and it had to be quick and uncomplicated because working moms need to ration their available time. Lo and behold, the recipe that fit the bill came from one of the girls! And now, the misty eye, reason for the season moment.

When talking to the girls about the recipe and asking the parents for a picture of the girls for the paper, it was the father who had the recipe memorized and who often helped his girls make the scrumptious treat. The girls quickly (and quite professionally I might add) found a place to pose for their photo and smiled like they had won the Betty Crocker contest of the year---it was awesome. And, as I drove home, I was thankful to the girls who sparked my first feelings of the Christmas season and for their parents who took the time to participate with their children. Thank you girls and hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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