I’m responding to two prompts today: Ruth Ayres’ SOS invitation to write in response to a word of choice and Jennifer Laffin of Teach Write‘s #DWHabit Word of the Day prompt: sneaky.

My first thought was that “sneaky” is an unpleasant little word. It makes me think of slinking, illicit activity, although admittedly of the low-grade variety– more misdeeds than felonious offenses. Then I reconsidered. Because although I mostly think of myself as an above-board citizen, I definitely have a sneaky streak when it comes to sweets. It was worse when I was young but is still very much present. In fact, one of the things I treasure most about adulthood is that no one can say that I can’t buy and/or consume as many candy bars or cookies or sweets as I’d like. Or if they do say it, I don’t have to listen. At any rate, thinking of my sweet tooth sent me straight back to childhood memories of what can only be deemed “sneaky” behavior.

My mom was an excellent baker and lucky for us, our cookie jar was always stocked with home-baked cookies. We definitely were given our fair share of cookies, but I distinctly recall many strategically-planned sneaky cookie forays.

I chose my time carefully. I always waited until Mom headed upstairs, listening for the tell-take soft sound of her steps on the stairs. Then I’d tiptoe into the kitchen, carefully glancing about.

Yes! The coast was clear!

My mother stored the cookie jar on the counter farthest from the family room and nearest the door to the hallway. (Only now do I recognize that this was not a chance placement! ) With ninja stealth, I’d cross the kitchen. Step by slow step. Reaching the counter, I’d stretch my hand out to touch the round knob on top of the jar. Then, finger by finger, I’d wrap my hand about it. Next, slow-slow-slowly steady-steady-steadily I’d lift the ceramic top of the cookie jar.

Centimeter by centimeter.

Higher and higher.

Holding my breath.

My other greedy little hand hovered nearby, twitched, eager to reach in and grab some extra cookie goodness.

To this day, I honestly don’t know how she did it. That jar lid must have made some infinitesimal sort of mom-noise–inaudible to me, but loud and clear to her maternal auditory super powers. I actually remember seriously wondering more than once if somehow she’d contrived a sort of alarm system.

And it’s funny. I can’t for the life of me remember what that cookie jar looked like or even specifically what those cookies tasted like. But I still remember the feel of that round knob in my hand with sweet victory so close and then…oh-so-clearly… mom’s voice calling down like a judgement from the second-floor heavens: “Get out of the cookie jar!”

22 thoughts on “Sneaky

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Ruth’s prompt made me think I needed to write about my OLW for 2021. So I skipped it, for now. But I love how sneaky you were in writing about this treasured memory. Perhaps there’s a word hovering about that I can write from? Your descriptions were spot on. I don’t know if we had a cookie jar, but your post took me back to a childhood of sneaky that was not so harmless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mbhmaine says:

    I interpreted Ruth’s prompt loosely and focused on the “select a word” and “see where it leads you” parts. (Actually, I guess I farmed out the “select a word” part to Jennifer Laffin!) At any rate, I’m once again uncertain about choosing a OLW. I didn’t do so last year and may opt out again. Still reflecting…On another note, I definitely want to hear about your sneaky childhood someday!


  3. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    Sneaky and childhood just go together like peanut butter and jelly! I love how you crafted this story. I want to print it to show my students how to take a moment and s-l-o-w it down! You did this beautifully! Thanks for the chuckle today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie says:

    The pacing of this piece was fabulous. It was so much fun to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No cookie jars for me–my mom was a cook, not a baker. Love how your memories are very specific and not necessarily what we would expect: the knob, the tense holding of breath. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nanc says:

    Totally love this…and your honesty about still loving the sweets. The word sneaky is cute, even if it has developed a reputation or connotation over the year. I think you were also stealthy! Happy New Year XO

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fran Haley says:

    Molly, what a memory, captured in perfect detail and suspense! My dad had that sort of “superhero” sense of hearing as well. I can think of so many things connected with “sneaky” – I may have to revisit. This was a joy to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loralee says:

    I love how you wrote about this childhood memory! I could see and hear it happening!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, such detailed childhood memories for your own children. Are any of your kids writers? I’d love to see a companion piece from one of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think their pieces would all be about getting the broken, burnt or misshapen left-overs from what I baked for the restaurant! lol There’s got to be some material there for therapy πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Terje says:

    This was an entertaining memory to read. Moms certainly have special hearing. I think it might have been the silence you created that alerted her first of all.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ruth Ayres says:

    I’m glad you linked in to #sosmagic. I agree with Julie, the pacing of this narrative is delightful. It was fun to “sneak” to the cookie jar with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. majfoil says:

    what a great memory and sharing … It was like I was there, with you, hoping and against hope … πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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