Family Traditions with a Dash of Cinnamon

Maybe it is because I enjoy cooking, but some of my fondest memories from childhood tend to be food related. My favorite cake and mints that were served at countless weddings in our community. Homemade noodles my grandma made. My mom's delicious fried chicken. The lasagna my theater group had every year on opening night. Certain smells and tastes take me back to a special time and place. There are even some traditions I am already starting to carry on through my cooking. Every year for Christmas we would have an Italian cream cake that a lady in our church made. I now bake one for Christmas to honor her memory and keep the tradition alive.

One of my favorite food memories, though, was making cinnamon biscuit bears with my mom. Every so often on a holiday, or when we were having a particularly bad day, my mom would pull out a can of biscuit dough and some cinnamon sugar. While most people might see a can of biscuits, my mom saw something creative and magical. She would help us pull apart the biscuits and form pieces to turn the mundane biscuits into characters - usually little bears. Before sticking them in the oven, she would add a dusting of cinnamon sugar to add a delicious touch. These sweet treats were as adorable as they were tasty! It was a memory and tradition that has stuck with me even though its been years since I made one.

Family traditions and childhood memories have been particularly meaningful to me lately after two life changing events that have occurred. If you follow my blog, you know I am a new mom to a sweet 6-month old boy! After a bit of a rough patch, my son is now thriving and already developing quite the personality. We are still a bit sleep deprived, but settling into our new family dynamics. As I watch my son grow, I cannot wait to start my own traditions and precious memories with him. I want him to have fond memories with me in the kitchen and traditions that he in turn carries on with his kids someday.

I also find myself clinging to childhood memories and traditions after a recent tragedy. Our joy in being new parents has been eclipsed by tremendous grief as we recently (and very unexpectedly) lost my mother. My mom was my biggest supporter and had become more of a friend than just a mother. We talked about everything and she was the best mother (and grandmother) that you could ask for. My heart continues to break as we are attempting to find our new normal in our lives. It breaks my heart that my son will never get to know this amazing woman.

I was a baby myself when I lost my grandmother. I used to love to hear stories about her, and it meant a lot that we shared some similarities; it made me feel somewhat closer to her. I pray the same is true for my son, and that traditions I can carry on and memories I will share with him will help him to understand more about her.

So a month after her death, I pulled out a can of biscuit dough and attempted my first biscuit bears in years. They definitely do not look like my mom used to make, but hopefully by the time my son is able to help me, I will have some practice. I cannot wait to make these in the kitchen with my son, just like my mom did with me.

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