Monday, December 15, 2008

thinking outside the cookie cutter

tonight was the night. the cookie dough had been cooled for the three required hours and we were ready. we took out the dough, argued over who was going to roll it out, argued over who was going to sprinkle the flour, argued over who got which cookie cutter to use. it was great! LOVE IT!

ok, aside from the usual grief that comes with a 7 and 6 year old, brother and sister respectively, it was a great night. we laughed, listened to christmas music and found joy in just being with each other. after a couple cookie cutter cuts, i took out a knife and began to carve my own figure. the kids observed intently and guessed inquisitively. "it's a cross" grace said. "no, it's an airplane!" derek yelled. "yep, said dad, that's it. you got it D".

"so who wants to use your brain to cut cookies instead of cookie cutters?" i asked. "your brain or cookie cutters?" i asked emphatically again. grace shouted out, "my brain!" i gave each of them a knife (hope you're not listening kc) and watched as they began to imagine, engaging with creative thoughts bubbling up from within. what a sight to see. they had become co-creators! how fun and frustrating at the same time, but wondrously free to be.

there was a snag however and it was this: all their brainy creativity was taking FOREVER. i said "alright now, let's just go back to the cookie cutters and stop using our brains." they argued again and demanded not to go back. i agreed after the usual ping pong match of words. in that moment i thought it kind of interesting how impatient we can be...i could be.

isn't this how life is sometimes? we get excited about trying new things, using our brains for a change, getting creative, and yet for some reason it never gets along as fast as we would like or hope. but maybe that's the point. isn't it about the creative process and not merely the "getting-it-all-over-and-done-with"? isn't it about the gift of wondering, and together, what could be? what we also learned was that if it failed, we balled up the sugar cookies and started again. ahhhh, fresh starts, who doesn't like those?

and so i celebrate tonight, that for a moment, for a short break in time, we were able to stand in opposition to the constraints unassumingly and unconsciously imposed on us...and for that time, we were able to think outside the cookie cutter!


tamie said...

this is one of the most lovely blog posts i have read in quite some time.

Russ said...

My family always makes Christmas cookies, too, and we are all very creative with the icing and sprinkles at the beginning, and we always resort to mass production by the end of the evening.