Thursday, January 17, 2008

Because chocolate is cheaper than therapy...

This week, for the very first time, eleven-year-old Child Number One has "left home".

Early yesterday morning, I waved her off on a three-day, two-night school trip. She and her classmates will be up north at an outdoor wilderness retreat, for what the school calls a "team-building workshop". All I have to say is, they'd BETTER build teams... or else SOMEBODY'S going to freeze to death. Purchasing and assembling all of the gear on the "required equipment" list took ages... and then we had to cram it all into ONE SUITCASE...

Luckily, the practical issue of packing has preoccupied me for much of the past several days, thus allowing me to push the emotional repercussions to the back of my brain. For this is the longest amount of time that my first-born has ever been away from me, without another family member to look after her. And as I saw her onto that bus, accompanied by all of the brash-er, bold-er, and considerably more boisterous children that make up our school's grade six class, I could feel my heart begin to hurt. And that ache, accompanied by the feeling of being a little lost... a little muddled... continued as I got back into my car and drove home.

When I was in university, I was fortunate enough to make friends with a girl who was a few years older, and a few years wiser than myself. I found my early years "under the gun" at the largest university in the country to be hellishly gruelling, and mind-bendingly frustrating, to put it mildly. Jessie was a wonderful friend to have. When, in fits of stress, I would explode into her dorm room, she would slowly turn herself around from the essay she was typing, lean back in her swivel chair, and LISTEN to me.

When I had finally exhausted my entire arsenal of expletives, she would smile, and offer a few well-chosen words of encouragement. Even if it was only one or two sentences, the calm that this girl exuded from every pore of her being worked magic on my soul. Don't ask me how, or why. That was just Jessie.

Once I was settled down a bit, she would offer me a chair, and say the most theraputic words of all:

"I think we need to eat something GOOD."

She would then pull out a tin, and unearth some sort of sinfully delicious cookie or square that she had purchased, which we would snarfle down on the spot. Or, we would don our coats and make a break from the campus for a few precious moments, and hit a wonderful coffee spot that was several blocks away.

Eating something GOOD almost always worked for us. Mind you, looking back, the problems we faced all those years ago (like lousy marks and narky professors and what the hell James Joyce was REALLY talking about) pale in comparison to the "real-life" emotional benders that motherhood throws at me on a regular basis.

However, I was willing to give just about anything (legal) a shot at nine-thirty yesterday morning.

I walked back into my house, headed straight for the kitchen, and began methodically mixing up my very favourite Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These cookies are DEEPLY sinful, people. Yet medicinal. The recipe came to me from another one of my very best friends, who, as well as being a culinary genius, is also a doctor. So she oughta know.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:

1 c margarine (I use Becel's olive oil margarine, in a vain attempt to be "virtuous")
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp good vanilla extract

Sift together:

1 2/3 c all purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix together well, until light and fluffy.

Then, add:

1 c chocolate chips
1 c white chocolate chips
(I have been known to throw in a few handfuls of chocolate-covered caramel morsels, too... just to add a little extra to the sin-factor)

Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Serves one.

It's a good thing Child Number One will be back on Friday evening.


Let's hope I'll still fit through the front door by then...


Leeann said...

I remember this same trip! My school also did this "team" thing. My parents moved us away right before and I never got to go. :(
Which...ended up being a good thing. And if you want to ask me why, ask AFTER your daughter is home safe and sound!

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Sounds like great therapy to me.

Oh, I can't wait to hear how her trip went--is she ever growing up!

canape said...

Those look wonderful. I think I will add that recipe to my list of "things to bake during early labor."


Redneck Mommy said...

I had to go on a similar trip at that age. I had a blast. Except when I found a spider in the shower and I freaked out, jumped out of the tub, slipped and broke my nose.

Good times.

Hope your daughter has fun!

mrinz said...

Ohh they look good comfort food!

I must give them a try.

Jessie sounds a good friend, everyone needs a Jessie in their life.

Hehe, I was just remembering a 'leaving home' we had once from our youngest two children. It wasn't them going away for a few days but us. They were around age 17 and 15 and we went away for a weekend.

It was a most insecure feeling leaving them waving to us at the front door with wide smiles on their faces.

We, of course, had visions of the house becoming party central while we were away.

However we had laid down several rules as well as alerting all the neighbours and the kids were too scared to set a foot out of line! Luckily it was before the days of cell phones and internet.

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