By Claire Burianek

My mom found a craft idea in a magazine, one where you decorate a snack bag, and my sister and I made them. She found lots of craft ideas from that magazine. We decorated plain brown bags with stickers and made them our own. My mom was always doing things like that: finding ways to make the mundane infinitely special. Every day after a long ride on the school bus home, my snack bag would be waiting for me on the counter full of food. Maybe it’s because food is the way to my heart, but I always looked forward to what I would find in my snack bag. I never felt so special. 

I was a Girl Scout, and my mom was our troop leader. We made so many crafts together in that troop, some that still lie around the house today. One time we made personalized marshmallow roasting sticks that had our names on them. I still use mine during our summertime hot dog roasting and s’more making nights. Another time, we made sit upons: fancy flat pillows for us to sit on when we would go to Girl Scout camp or have a picnic. It was so incredibly extra, but substantially more comfortable than sitting on the ground. 

Every Thanksgiving, my mom, my sister, and I would bake a pie for our small family to eat. Back when we were too small to reach the counter, my sister and I would sit on the counter and transfer ingredients to the mixing bowl. Now I am old enough to bake pies by myself, but I do miss being young enough to sit on the counter. When we were done and the pie was in the oven, my sister and I got to either lick the mixing beater or the bowl. We always fought over the bowl, since it was bigger, although in hindsight they probably held the same amount of pie batter. 

For Christmas, we made candy cane cookies that my mom made with her mom since she was a kid. They’re simple to make. First, you separate the dough into three colors: white, red, and green. Then you take a piece of two colors (or three if you’re feeling ambitious) and roll them out into long strings. Finally, you twist them together and shape it into a candy cane.  My sister and I easily tired of making candy canes, and always ended up making different shapes like wreaths and Christmas blobs. My mom’s cookies always turned out much better than mine, and despite her insisting it was only due to her years of experience, I’m still convinced she’s just perfect at everything baking. 

Those days were handmade. If I could step into my mind like the characters on “Locke and Key”, those memories would be glowing golden in a special section of their own. My childhood may not have been all sunshine and unicorns, but moments like these certainly were.