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How do you define love?

I think we all have our own definitions, and the word means different things in different situations and at different times in our lives…

As the days have passed since my mom’s death – it’s been almost 14 months – I’ve been all over the map with regard to emotions. Memories are brought to life by so many things: an old photo, a beloved tradition, running into one of her old friends, or a card found tucked away in the drawer.

And food.

Food is such a powerful trigger for me. I don’t remember a ton of details about my childhood like some people seem to. Some of the most vivid memories I do have, though, are of my mom in the kitchen. She loved to cook and bake, and boy was she good at it!

In our world, food was comfort and joy, but most of all food was love. The most prominent ingredient in every single one of mom’s kitchen creations was L-O-V-E.

I have three boxes crammed full with her recipes – folded up bits of paper, index cards, typewritten, handwritten, scribbled in her own secret shorthand, backs of envelopes, magazine and newspaper clippings. I didn’t realize all those years ago just how much of a treasure they would be someday.

I’ve been thinking about Mom’s butterscotch chip cookies for a week now. It’s been at least 20 years (maybe 30) since I’ve had them, so tonight I finally pulled out the boxes and searched until I found the recipe.

It’s one of the most “well loved” of all the cards – so much so that it’s barely decipherable. Her uniquely flawless handwriting, faded ink on a plain card yellowed with age and splattered with misdirected ingredients of years gone by.

The cookies came out of the oven piping hot and beautifully golden brown. They tasted just like I remembered…  like L-O-V-E…

Miss you, Mom.