Friday, April 13, 2018

"I think I've changed my mind!"

My life with the L'Arche Community is shifting. Instead of spending most of my time on administrative tasks, I'm working with the core members more, much to my delight. They always make me smile.

Yesterday afternoon was no exception. It was cookie time. The gang and I made 'Oatmeal Cookies with a Purpose' from my old copy of the Mennonite More with Less cookbook. It's a recipe for a soft, easy to work with cookie dough that my Day Program friends with and without disabilities could easily shape as they pleased and decorate. Most opted to press m&ms into their cookies before baking, but a few cookies were baked un-decorated, so we iced them and put on sprinkles, as you can see in the picture.

The best moment of the afternoon was when when everyone, core members and staff alike, were joking around and happily nibbling warm fresh cookies. But my favourite anecdote occurred earlier, as I was helping to put aprons on each core member, asking if they were willing to help shape the cookies. Some I didn't even have to ask -- they were "all in" from the moment I started putting ingredients into the mixing bowl. But Lark* and Mariette* said no. They're older ladies and they usually prefer to sit and watch everyone else do things.

Not wanting to leave them out, I turned to Lark and said, "Are you sure you don't want to make cookies? If you don't make some, what will you do when the rest of us are enjoying our treats?"

An assistant piped up, "If you don't make cookies, you don't eat cookies."

I could tell that the wheels were turning as I watched Lark's expression change with the idea of no cookies. "No one else is going to make them for you," I said.

Lark paused a moment, then grinned and announced in her high, reedy voice, "I think I've changed my mind!" Mariette begrudgingly agreed with Lark, and as soon as I gave them their cookie dough, they both got right into it!

Everyone enjoyed their cookies when they were ready, and Mariette even hung in with me until the last cookie was iced and sprinkled, insisting that I deliver the pink-sugared one to her favourite staff member friend, who works in an office down the hall. Vinh, don't forget to thank her!

It was a delightful afternoon, and it was fun to see everyone in a happy mood, enjoying their cookies together. I much prefer baking with Day Program to working at a computer!

* I use pseudonyms for my L'Arche friends.

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