I believe in chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school.
From the time I was first going off to Kindergarten, well through my senior year of high school, I knew I could count on one infallible truth in my life. On the first day of school, I could come home, disembark the bus, and run to the front porch where my mom and the smell of chocolate chip cookies would be waiting for me.
After I dropped my backpack on the floor and kicked my shoes aside, I would be welcomed into the kitchen where mom and grandma were already met, gabbing over a cup of coffee and waiting for me to arrive. There was no doubt in my mind that – as I rattled down lists of kids in my class and the quirks of this year’s teacher and what Natalie’s new school shoes looked like – the two women listening to me were hanging on every word.
Some years I would come home, take my cookies and milk to the living room, and refuse to talk, laying around in front of the TV for an hour before I felt like visiting. I knew that whenever I decided to return to the kitchen, mom and grandma would be waiting for me. And if I had a particularly horrible day and didn’t ever feel like coming out, they knew there would always be tomorrow.
That’s the power of chocolate chip cookies.
It doesn’t matter when you eat them or if you eat them alone or even if half of one crumbles in your milk and you have to fish it out with a spoon before it gets soggy. What matters is the person who made them for you.
In a world of broken families and busy schedules and low carb diets, chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school can’t be counted on by many kids. I think this is a shame. A lot can be said for trips to the park and notes in lunch boxes and other expressions of love, but there’s just something about the first day of school and the simple joy of knowing that your mom thought about you all afternoon and had something special waiting for you when you came back home again.
Chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school mean a return to comfort and safety from the world of tattle-tellers and spitball-throwers and bullies who steal lunch money.
Chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school mean hugs and an eager audience waiting to hear the horror stories of new lab partners and the insecurities about who to sit with during lunch.
Chocolate chip cookies on the first day of school mean shelter and protection from a world full of uncertainty and fear, a refuge where all that matters is an inviting smell and a cold glass of milk and a mom waiting for you.
That’s why I believe in the power of cookies.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.