After we drop off Jack at preschool I say, "Molly! What should we do today!"
And she says, "Buy cookies!" (She used to say, "Go shoe store!" That's my girl.)
Because the weather is nearly always terrible, because home is a mountain of laundry and dirty dishes, because I also love cookies, because it's just her and me, that's exactly what we end up doing. Two-year-old appropriate cookies (small, smothered in frosting) are easy to find in this town of coffee shops on every corner, and it's become a twice-weekly habit. I am the woman with a pink-coated pixie in her arms ordering the decaf nonfat latte and the sugar cookie at nine-fifteen in the morning. Then we find a table and sit down with our treats, just her and me, whiling away our Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Oh, sometimes we mix in some errands. Molly gets coloring books at the post office and stickers from that nice checker at Target and we've ridden the escalator in Macy's enough times to make store security think we're casing the baby department. Sometimes there are samples in the grocery store bakery, in which case my girl gets a second morning cookie. Sometimes I think I should dial back my love of retail therapy and the best way to do that is going home - after our morning treat, of course. The morning treat doesn't count. The morning treat isn't just about the cookie, it's about her and me, me and her.
Because maybe you are not aware, but my little girl is the cutest thing in the world. She's snuggly and precious and quick with a kiss. She loves me - is it okay to say how much I secretly enjoyed being the only one she'd allow to hold her when she was tiny? And as much as she talks about going to preschool when she's a big girl, I know she loves going out for her cookie with just Mommy, walking around all the stores holding Mommy's hand, listening to Mommy read a book just to her, folding clothes with Mommy, helping Mommy make cookies, pretending to drink Mommy's coffee. Her whole life she's been one of two, but when Jack goes to preschool it's just her. I hope she enjoys it as much as I do.
I thought I would be doing bigger, grander things with our two and half hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was going to be my time to really concentrate on Molly, really let her be the special one. We could go to the zoo, the museum, the lake, the park and she could do whatever she wanted. No waiting on or compromising with or having to consider Jack. But when I offer these options she just says, "No. Buy cookies, Mommy!"
So I suppose it's not about me, it's not about our time together, potentially it's all about the cookies. Seeing as how I've pretty much subsisted on Christmas cookies for the last three weeks, I'm in complete agreement on the cookie front. I'm okay being the Cookie Provider. It just works. It's our thing. Jack goes to preschool, we find a coffee shop. We order our treats. We smile at each other. We give each other tastes. We sit there as long as it takes a two-year-old to slurp all the frosting off the top of a little cookie (which is a very long time).
I was telling my mom about our little outings and my mom said something like, "Oh, it's too bad she won't remember this time with her mom." I felt so sad that she said that, because if there's one thing I'm worried about with a girl, it's the span of years where the last thing my daughter will want to do is go out for coffee and cookies with her mom. Even if you're a newish mom, even if your kids are still pretty little, you know the moments that won't last forever. These cookie mornings are the perfect combination of sweet, special, and fleeting.
So if it sounds like I'm spoiling the heck out of my kid in regular, twice-a-week intervals, so much so that the girl thinks frosted cookies appear at the snap of her pudgy fingers: you bet I am. I'm am spoiling MYSELF. I wasn't sure what we would do with ourselves on those preschool mornings, but as it turns out, as long as she's got a cookie in one hand and my hand in the other, Molly's having an excellent time. So am I.