Two words; they return to my vocabulary each January and strike fear into my heart.
At a time when most of this country is trying to recover from an extended food and festivities binge, adorable little cookie pushers with pigtailed hair and gap-toothed grins hit the streets and clog entrances at every grocery store.
The preceding sentence makes it sound like I don't like Girl Scouts or their sugary wares. Really, the problem doesn't lie with Girl Scouts. It's found smack dab in the middle of my own weak cookie resistance.
Last year I bought forty boxes of cookies. Yes, forty! I rationalized I could give them out as hostess gifts. My daughter assured me I could put them in the freezer to keep them fresh and I drank the kool-aid on her sales pitch. Forty times.
The look on your face when you read how many boxes I bought is EXACTLY the same look that was on my husband's face when Child #1, having reeled in her first big fish customer (aka the person who gave birth to her) turned to him and said "So Daddy, are you going to beat mom's order?"
It's not just the purchasing and consuming of Girl Scout cookies that bothers me. It's the antiquated order and delivery system.
Child #1 pounds the pavement, takes orders and then several weeks later our dining room is filled with cases of cookies that have to be sorted and labeled. Customers have to be cornered. Money must be counted and kept safe in the cookie envelope. If you could see the freewheeling way my daughter handles her homework binder you'd understand why the cookie money envelope is problematic.
A few years ago an aging cookie salesperson knocked on our door. I think she was eleven at the time, maybe twelve. "Wanna buy some cookies," she asked with a barely suppressed eye roll.
Child #1 was in first grade. She came running to our front door, flailing cookie sheet in hand. "How many boxes have you sold? I've sold eighty-two. What's your favorite flavor? Don't you just LOVE TO SELL COOKIES????"
The other girl studied her, shrugged and then looked at me. "So you probably don't want to buy any, right?"
She was like an advertisement for studied unenthusiasm.
That picture lodged itself in my brain in the place I reserve for snapshots of what the future of my parenting experience will look like. It's filled with things like sulky teenagers glaring out of Christmas card pictures and tweenagers with texting-trained thumbs.
I thought it was a future I dreaded, but this year, with Child #1 pushing eleven, her cookie form sits in a state of neglect on her desk. It's been pushed aside to make way for texting thumbs, hamsters and sewing projects. This just might be the first year that Cookie Season and Samoa binges don't go hand-in-hand.
It's a milestone. Time to retire my recipe for Thin Mint Milkshakes. And, it turns out, I'm happy to move on to whatever comes next.
What milestone did you dread reaching, only to discover a unexpected happiness when you reached it?