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!”