A Suburban City Girl in A Small Town

Moment by moment……

The Last Cookie

on October 18, 2012

Every once in a while, I get introspective. The other day, I was thinking about my maternal grandmother and the short time she lived with my mom and I. 

I grew up between two households, one on the north side of Chicago and one on the south side. I attended St. Ladislaus Catholic School from the time I was in first grade to seventh. After seventh grade, we’d had many issues with the school causing my mom to send me to live with my aunt. So off to the south side I went (again) and, for my eight grade year, I attended and graduated from Our Lady of the Snows Catholic School. I made friends quickly and although I took my entrance exams at Mother Guerin High School, I decided to attend Queen of Peace High School and continue living with my aunt. 

During these formative years, I missed my parents incredibly. Somehow, seeing my mom on the weekends wasn’t enough. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, my mom moved out south to a house three doors down from my aunt. The idea of going from being in a house of 7 to a house of 2 excited me. I also was thrilled to be living in a house with just me and my mom. 

Then the news came. The decision was made for my grandmother to move in with us. Now, to be honest, my grandmother was a tough woman. She wasn’t the cookies and pie type of grandma. She smoked heavily until her later years, talked with her elbows and could quiet an entire room with one pursing of her lips. There were no warm fuzzies. So naturally, I was beyond upset. I was angry. Whether or not I showed it, I’ll never know. I know I tried to be fair – well, as fair as a 14 year old girl could be. I think all I wanted was me and my mom and no one else. I felt like I didn’t even know who my mom was. I wanted to know that person. 

Never the less, moving day came and I watched in tears as my grandmother’s things were brought down to our new house. My only consolation was that she was traveling soon to southern Illinois and my mom and I had planned to take her down and then to head to Springfield on the way back. That trip was my “getting to know you” trip with my mom. 

However, my grandmother had to come home and come home she did. I stayed in my room most of the time like teens do. But she had this annoying habit of buying cookies and treats that “were just for her”. I gotta tell ya – that didn’t fly with the selfish teenager in me. She especially used to buy these waferish chocolate cookies – so good! – and they would go in the fridge until she was ready to eat them. This usually came with the reminders to me that these were her cookies and no one elses. 

Ok. So I waited. Until there was one left. And then I ate it! I felt a weird sense of devilish humor in taking her last cookie. I was laughing at her. I was also banking her aging memory so as not to get in trouble. Oh, my poor mother begged me. “Please don’t take the last cookie,” she would plead. But I was stubborn and I was going to show my grandmother just how stubborn. 

Then Klondike came out with their ice cream bars. You know the ones. Cream vanilla ice cream goodness on the inside covered with smooth milk chocolate on the outside. Freeze and serve and it was oh-so-good! Six to a package and all six were off limits to me. Or so she said. Although I shook my head dutifully, I secretly targeted the one I would make mine! 

Then I took up smoking. (Yes, I was a bad teen – I smoked.) And guess what I smoked. The exact same cigarettes as she did. Thus, when she bought a carton – correction – when she demanded I go out and get her a carton, I helped myself to a pack here and there. As smart as she was, I’m sure she knew she was supporting my smoking habit as well as my eating habit. I didn’t care. In my mind, it was a fair price for her to pay for stealing my time with my mother. 

She’s been gone now for many years. Oh we look back and laugh about how I always took her last cookie and we laugh at how mad it made her. Yet, now that I’m older and wiser, I wish I would have been able to communicate more with her. I wish I would have been less instigative. I wish I would have been more patient. I wish…….oh well.

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