‘Twas the Eve of the Solstice

brownies tied up with ribbon

As I stood in my kitchen this evening, cutting plastic wrap into little squares and individually wrapping brownies I’d just baked from a box mix, I felt… a little out of my element.

This is what “Pinterest Moms” do, I thought. This is what women who grew up baking dozens of Christmas cookies with their own mothers do. Me, I’m almost 40 and I’m having trouble wrapping up my little brownies into cling-wrap burritos that four-year-olds will hopefully be able to open.

A batch of soy candles was cooling on the other counter as I traipsed through the house and into the back closet to fetch a couple different types of ribbon to wrap around the brownies.

Ribbon. To wrap around brownies.

So it’s come to this, my brain snarked as I tied a little raffia bow around each wrapped brownie — again, carefully crafted for little fingers to successfully unfurl. I may as well get used to it. At least preschoolers won’t care what your bows look like.

Perhaps this is practice for future years of favors for class parties. Maybe someday I won’t feel like I’m playing house as the brownie mix poofs up out of the bowl in a dry cloud of chocolate, or as I’m cutting one red fuzzy ribbon into two thin ones because I ran out of gold raffia to tie up the rest of the brownies, or as I slowly become all thumbs and start tying single-loop bows instead of normal double-loop ones like I’d use to tie my shoe.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking or making treats for my son’s classmates. It’s just that it seems that so many women do this domestic stuff as naturally as breathing. It’s not just a social-media pop-culture thing, either — I know these women personally. I work with them. Several of them. They make awesome cookies and desserts and —


Yeah, I know. I have my own wheelhouse. I don’t have to be good at everything, or feel like I have everything “under my fingers,” to use a musician’s turn of phrase. Some things take practice, repetition, and I’m sure that I’ll feel a lot more room-mother-ish once I do this sort of thing more often.

It was just kind of funny, seeing myself from the outside, studiously wrapping brownies in plastic wrap.

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