I Will Bake You Cookies

Shawna Gove

The recipe card has water stains and crusty batter on it that flakes away little by little when I pull it from my recipe book. Each time I hold the white index card, I am reminded of the man my son will never meet. The man my son is named after and a man my son would have adored.

I used to mix these cookies by hand in my mother’s blue Pyrex bowl with a wooden spoon. Now I use my electric mixer, pulling it from the cabinet and placing it on the countertop where the ingredients are waiting. Sugars and shortening, followed by eggs and vanilla. The batter begins to form when I add flour, baking soda, and salt. And with my wooden spoon, I stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Soon my kitchen fills with the smell of cookies, and I carefully tuck away my recipe card. It is always the first card in the “cookie” section because I can’t stand for it to be anywhere else: Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.

My dad and I used to laze around the living room on Sunday mornings eating chocolate chip cookies my mom had made and reading the comic strips, which on Sunday, were three full pages and in vivid color. They were so big I couldn’t even hold them in my hands; I had to lay them flat out on the floor and read sprawled on my stomach next to my older sister: Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Marmaduke, Blondie, Garfield, Beetle Bailey, The Far Side. No one I knew was allowed to eat cookies for breakfast, but one day a week, that’s exactly what
my dad, my sister, and I did.

In my adolescence, I grew to love baking and discovered that my dad’s favorite birthday and Father’s Day gifts were a batch of those amazing chocolate chip cookies. It’s not an old family recipe or anything like that, it’s one a family friend shared with my mom when I was a girl. One day years later, that same family friend would drive two hours in the night to tell me my dad had died and drive me home.

If he were alive today, my dad would have turned 69 this month, and I would have baked him his favorite chocolate chip cookies. If he were alive today, he would know that at 2-years-old, his grandson is silly and adventurous, just like he was. If he were alive today, he would have eaten cookies on Sunday mornings with his grandchildren.

Today, on a quiet afternoon, I bake my dad’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and think of him. He isn’t here to eat these cookies, but they are now my husband’s favorite chocolate chip cookies. My son knows what I have made and comes to me with a big smile, “Coo-key! … Pease!” he says while running his hand on his stomach, his best attempt at signing “please.”

We sit together, sharing a warm chocolate chip cookie while I think of what I will one day tell him about his grandpa, my father. I hope I remember to tell him how he played guitar by ear and could play almost any song just by listening to it. I hope I remember to tell him about the practical jokes, like the time he hid under my bed with a hand under the covers to scare me. I hope I remember to tell him that every summer he rode the tallest and scariest roller coasters with me because he loved them as much as I did. I hope I remember to tell my son about summer rides on his red Harley named “Babe” and how long he would sometimes let his hair grow. I hope I remember to tell him that we often fought because we were so similar, both bull-headed, just like my dad’s father was, too. There’s so much to remember, and I sometimes worry I’ll forget, but I know the stories will come naturally, as memories do when I least expect them.

In the meantime, I will continue to bake cookies, and we will eat them on Sunday mornings.

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Each time I hold the white index card, I am reminded of the man my son will never meet. The man my son is named after, and a man my son would have adored.


This post was written by Shawna Gove exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.

Shawna Gove is the working mom to a sweet and wild little Calvin (complete with his own stuffed tiger). She has been published at Scary Mommy, The Mighty, and Mamalode. She has blogged previously about her experience as a young adult with breast cancer, and she now blogs at That Mom Lady about the made-up-in-her-head challenges of being a wife and raising her little boy.