Today, after lunch, I decided to make brownies.
So this doesn't seem very notable, I know. I've made brownies countless times, from a box and from scratch. I love how simple brownies are, no matter how you make them. Cookies take a lot of time, and while there is a wonderful payoff, sometimes you need simple and quick.
I love the smell in the house when I make them, that chocolate-y smell that seeps into other rooms right before the brownies are done. This is a home smell, a being-a-little-girl smell. It is, really, a Mom Smell.
For the last three years, as we learned to adapt to what Mom's diagnosis and decline meant, every time I bake something I think of her. Saturday afternoons were usually when she would bake, though there was no hard and fast rule. And there was always something in the house that she had made, some sweet, whether it be cookies (always chocolate chip), brownies, streusel cake, or sometimes banana or zucchini bread. She experimented around the holidays - I remember the year she tried making candy for one of our classes as a treat, and that being the only time her experiment didn't work out as she intended. Mom had a battered, splattered copy of a Betty Crocker cookbook in the house, and her little recipe box with all the tried-and-trues in it. That was it.
Making brownies today really had nothing to do with Mom. I like having chocolate in the house, and Randy loves brownies as much as I do, so it was really about satisfying a craving. But once the smell hit, I was thinking of Mom, and how everyone always fought over the goodies she made us - even Dad got in on it, having quite the sweet tooth and soft spot for Mom's baking.
I feel like motherhood is less daunting when I do the things my mom always made special for me. Today the Mom Smell of baking brownies brought my mother to mind, but it has already taken on a new meaning. I can't wait to make brownies for my little boy or girl. And cookies, and cookie cake, and cakes, and oh so many things! Maybe my little one will one day recognize the "Mom Smell" his or her own childhood, and it will make them smile.