I sat down today with the intention of sharing the importance of traditions for our family during the holiday season. But with the recent Connecticut shootings, my heart has been heavy.
When hearing of the shooting, I had difficulty comprehending the news. I couldn’t fathom someone walking into an elementary school and killing children. I couldn’t understand the logic or sense behind it. My heart broke for the parents, children, and families. It is incomprehensible. And then fear began to seep in as I thought about my eight-year-old sitting in his second grade class. As I picked up J from school, I looked around at the place that is often our second home, full of teachers and staff that we adore, a principal that inspires and encourages, and friends and families, many or whom we consider our Seattle family.
When we broke the news to Jack, he expressed his worry about something like this happening at his school. With a weak voice, I tried my best to reassure him that he was safe. But I understand his concern. When malls, coffee shops, movie theaters, churches, and now elementary schools have all had recent shootings, it has the ability to shatter our perception of safety.
This weekend, I have kept my kids close, hesitant to let them go far. The thought of sending J back to school on Monday has made me uneasy. Fearful that something could happen. As I was hovering over my daughter, it dawned on me how quickly I had given fear such a wide berth in my life. As a usually easy-going parent, I have turned into a worrisome mom, fearful that each hug, book read, or silly moment could be my last with them.
I asked J to start brainstorming ideas of what we could do to support those in Connecticut as a family. We haven’t found anything yet (side note: if you know of anything, please leave a comment or shoot me an email) but I do know that living a life of fear is not honoring those lost. I am choosing to be grateful that I get to share each small moment with my children. I am soaking up the time spent baking gingerbread cookies with my kids and taking a few extra minutes to snuggle at bedtime. I am watching with a little more delight as my daughter dances by the Christmas tree knowing that some mommas are grieving for their daughters today. I am trying to let the little things slide, knowing they aren’t really important.
I am going to be grateful to today instead of fearful that I won’t have tomorrow.
We made these twice this week, my kids delighted in cutting out different shapes. It was a nice distraction from the news and a delicious way to celebrate the holidays.
Soft Gingerbread People
Servings will depend on the size of your cookie cutters. We usually get close to 2 dozen cookies with average sized cookie cutters.
2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt
3/4 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup of molasses
1 tablespoon of hot water
confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar. Mix until fluffy, 2-4 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Thin the molasses with the hot water in a small bowl and add it to the butter mixture. Mix well. Gradually add in the sifted ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix until it forms a stiff dough. Refrigerate for one hour or until the dough is stiff enough to roll out. Roll the dough out to approximately 1/2 in thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies no longer look doughy. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet before dusting with confectioners sugar.