“Who reads to you at home?” That was the question asked to our son by Ms. E, his amazing Kindergarten teacher.
“My mommy and my daddy read to me,” B said. “Well, my mommy reads to me when she is not going out with Kim.”
My jaw dropped when Ms. E told me about this little exchange. Yes, Kim and I go out sometimes, but I never thought our random Saturday nights together would be internalized in B’s mind as an absentee mom gone wild. If Kim’s daughter hadn’t had Ms. E the previous year and if I hadn’t volunteered in B’s classroom, I fear that Ms. E would suggest that the next parent-teacher conference should be at an AA meeting.
I can’t help it – Kim is one of my “cookies.” Ms. E described the term “cookies” like this: When near a plate of cookies, some people have no control and must eat all of them, making the cookies a major distraction. Just like a best friend in class, sometimes it isn’t good to sit next to something you like so much because you will just want to play with them instead of focusing on the task. Ms. E often suggested, “If you are unable to do your work, maybe you and your cookie need to be separated.”
I am not an easy cookie to have on a plate. I don’t want to talk on the phone for hours which makes catching up with girlfriends tough. Friends have chastised me for my two-word responses to emails (“Sounds good” is cut and pasted frequently). I don’t write letters and prefer texting to ask a question, whether I am aware the answer will be a simple one or not. I also retreat from people, scorching the earth around me. All these traits make me an oatmeal raisin cookie in the bakery of life.
But yet, if a friend is ready to go out to dinner, or drinks, or Vegas, I am their girl. I am that woman who takes her friends to a karaoke bar so that I can belt out my rendition of “Uptight” by Stevie Wonder. I make reservations at a dinner/ drag queen show. I accompany friends to museums, unique restaurants and dive bars, sometimes all on the same night. Just let’s make all our plans through texting, please; don’t scare me with a phone call.
As an adult, I think having cookies that understand all of your quirks is vital. In Kindergarten, kids connect over simple things, like the fact that they both wore a Superman shirt on the same day. The bonds of adult friendships are more complicated but still important when navigating the playground of life. In adulthood, finding friends takes a little more time, a little more effort, a little more understanding that the recipe that makes you unique might not be the same as theirs but they are still compatible. You can co-exist on the cookie sheet, all rising together in a separate but equal fashion.
Let me emphasize the importance of not leaving play dates to just the kids. Go out and find your own assorted baker’s dozen. Just be sure to read to the kids before you head out for the night.