Monday, December 22, 2008

Makin' Memories

When my brothers, who are both younger than I am, were little, they, like most brothers, called each other evil names. My mother, being a good Unitarian, chided them for this. "There is enough hate in the world," she would say. Like Thumper's mother, she urged us, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

So they modified their techniques. They called each other "Pal."

"Oh, Pal . . . come here so I can give you a wedgie." "I love you, PAL," before ambushing each other in the living room. This sort of thing.

Pretty soon, they were forbidden to call each other "Pal."

So, of course, it stuck. More than 30 years later, they still call each other "Pal" and "Pal-y." But the tone has softened to something almost resembling affection.

They weren't just snarky with each other. They were snarky with me, too. Especially during the holidays they would say things to me like, "Let's make memories, Sissy. Let's make memories to keep us warm in our golden years."

On paper, it sounds affectionate enough, except it was usually said while holding me in a headlock and farting in my face. But it has become one of those family mantras. Even our spouses will sometimes get a little dreamy-eyed during a particularly warm and cozy family moment and murmur, "Makin' memories . . ."

It was in this spirit that I unclenched my normally anal-retentive grip on my kitchen and allowed the girls to wallow in the tastes, sounds, and smells of Christmas. I let them bake today.

They selected some Christmas CDs. First, it was Al Green Christmas. They allowed it to repeat until I think next year will be too soon to play it again. Skittles especially likes Al's version of "What Christmas Means to Me," which, unfortunately, I cannot find on YouTube. I can find his version of "O Holy Night," which gives me goosebumps. Listen:

Then I gave them the Ally McBeal A Very Ally Christmas CD, but they rejected this in favor of Christmas Classics with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and Louis Armstrong. They especially liked Armstrong's "Cool Yule." Go figure. YouTube says that video is "Not available in my country," so you'll have to look for it yourself.

Anyhow, they made two recipes from Nigella Lawson: a spicy cookie with icing and a sort of peanut butter/chocolate candy. Both are delicious. I gave them some direction, but then I would leave the room and just let them get on with it. They really did all the work. And the washing up.

My kitchen floor is sticky. I will be stepping on candy sprinkles for days. And there is a sort of cement of icing sugar on the counter top. But I think they had a lot of fun together. And, after all, isn't that a big part of Christmas?

Here are the peanut butter sweets:

Here Skittles is icing the cookies.

Notice we are still in pajamas . . . an important part of vacation.


valentina said...

What a fabulous mom you are to turn them loose. And now every Christmas they will enjoy this together or think of each other when they are doing it apart. The true "making memories!" This phrase which you passed down to me from your mom comes to mind frequently...

Al Green huh? Who'd of thunk it? Skittles? Good taste in music!! Thank god it's not the Chipmunks!!!


Tina in CT said...

It never was Christmas in our house without my green cream cheese spritz cook wreaths. This year I waited until Tamara and the girls arrived on 1/1. The next day the girls and I made them but we changed it to different designs with the cookie press and colors. Some were green, some were pink and some were hot pink.

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