Being a parent

Grandparenting Through Milestones

Written by Sharon Couto


Just like children, cookies are sweet delights of sugars and spices and all things nice.

Cookies often evoke sweet memories, too – memories of childhood, of warm moments, of people and places wrapped in our pasts.

Cookies are often celebrated in family traditions, and these traditions in my family have found a delicious place in a very, very sweet milestone of each of my grandchildren.

As a mom of four, and now a grandma of twelve, I think I’ve discovered the sweetest ingredient of cookies – magic. There is some real magic involved in knowing the exact moment when a grandchild is perfectly “done” enough to stand on a chair or small stool, help mix up a big bowl of cookie dough, grab a rolling pin and begin cutting and sculpting cookies into playful shapes and sizes.

Three years old, or thereabout, seems the perfect age for this milestone of magic. In my family, this tradition is going on 13 years, beginning with my oldest two granddaughters, now each 15-years old.

We always fluffed up the tradition a bit with aprons and hats. As more and more grandkids began to arrive, a day of holiday cookie baking has wonderfully involved matching pajamas and a holiday photo, too. Grandparents love to capture moments. We can’t help it!

Don’t get me wrong, though. There’s a lot of “messy” in the magic of this milestone! Flying flour and cocoa and small candies. Spilled milk and droplets of food coloring. Softened butter (oh, so delightful to little hands!). Sticky fingers and aprons and spatulas and floors.

But what supersedes the “messy” is the spirit of creating the countless assortments and flavors of cookies, the time together, the very magic of seeing a milestone taking shape – just like the cookies – right before our very eyes, but delightfully oblivious to the kids.

The kids are just having fun, shaping cookies – and memories – of their own.

It is amazing how kids remember moments, with no awareness that the milestone piece is happening. Grandparents are rather adept at knowing these things, but there is one thing that caught me by absolute surprise. Little did I know when my oldest grandkids were young and first experiencing all this, that they would be such perfect ingredients in the milestones of their younger cousins/siblings. They are the ones who have molded the greatest memories, the first times of participating, the blending of ages and years. They are the ones whose milestones have become new milestones, rising like cookie dough to perfect completion. If I had a heart-shaped cookie right now, I would send it along with this post to show my love and my delight!

Yes, milestones can be messy. Milestones can be significant, unforgettable events. Milestones may be remembered in exact detail. Milestones may be sweet memories in the minds and hearts of parents and grandparents.

But milestones are always “single-sized,” just like cookies, molded beautifully into each child’s being in the most grandly decorated, or simplest of moments, in time.

Cherish each one.

About the author


Sharon Couto