The Cookie Jar
When I was a child, my grandmother would bake the most delicious-smelling cookies. Her house would be full of the aroma of those treats as they baked in her oven. She would remove them and place them on the various cooling wire stands as my siblings and me would stand and watch, eyes wide and mouths salivating. The flavours that she would make were so enticing. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, fudge chocolate, cinnamon, cranberry and orange and white chocolate. We were not allowed to eat them when they were warm, even though we knew from our mother’s cookies that they tasted sensational in this state. The selection of mouth-watering treats was placed inside a large cookie jar and placed on a shelf.
“Now, ” my grandmother would announce, ” cookies must be earned. Good behaviour will result in being given a cookie of your favourite flavour.”
“I like chocolate chip best of all,” my sister would declare.
“I prefer peanut butter,” my elder half- brother would announce.
“It’s got to be cinnamon for me,” weighed in my younger brother as he fizzed with excitement. I would stand saying nothing.
“What about you HG ? Which is your favourite?” asked my grandmother as she leant down to level with my face,
“I like them all grandma, I don’t have a favourite,” I would answer.
My grandmother would laugh.
“Oh you can’t have them all HG, you’ll be sick,” she would say and ruffle my hair.
“He will grandma, he is greedy,” my sister would scold and I would give her my look. I had perfected this stare in the mirror over the preceding summer. I narrowed my eyes and fixed my gaze summoning up every ounce of anger, malice and hatred that I could muster. I found it worked best if I thought of things which angered me. I would recall being left out of the school football team but for no apparent reason. I would remember when my painting did not win the competition organised by the church (“But you came second,” congratulated my younger brother, what’s the good of second?!) and every other injustice that had been meted out to me. I recalled the fury I felt from each act of exclusion and failure to recognise my talents and I channelled it into creating the cold, malicious stare. When I shot it towards my sister she immediately fell quiet. She knew better than to cross me once I had given her that look.
“Well,” my grandmother would continue as she straightened herself, “if you all help me clean the baking utensils you can all have a cookie each. I sneered as my siblings gathered around to assist so readily compliant for such a meagre reward. I turned and walked out of the room unwilling to engage in their collective submission.
“Don’t you want a cookie?” my grandmother would ask, her voice following me as I walked into the garden.
“No thank you,” I called over my shoulder and made my way to my favourite tree to climb high into its branches and sit in splendid isolation looking across the extensive garden which surrounded my grandparents’ impressive house. I would sit up there for hours, master of all I surveyed.
When I returned for dinner my siblings would remind me of how delicious the cookies had tasted yet I was unaffected by their ineffectual goading for I knew that my triumph would surpass their laughable achievement. I merely smiled and got on with eating my dinner.
That night I waited until the rest of the house was asleep and then I made my way downstairs, back into the kitchen. I stood on the cool stone floor, the moonlight shining into the room causing the glass jar to gleam. I hopped up onto one of the kitchen counters and claimed my prize. I placed the jar down before me and lifted off the lid before dipping my hand inside and selecting a white chocolate cookie. I devoured it in three bites. I grabbed a cinnamon one and wolfed that down before attacking a cranberry and orange cookie in much the same way. I pulled the chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate fudge flavoured ones and put them beside me, ready to carry to bed. My hand lingered over the jar again. How I wanted to take a further cinnamon cookie and break it up, scattering crumbs besides my younger brother’s bed but I knew that it was futile. My grandmother could never remember how many she had baked of each cookie and she would never notice that six had been taken overnight. That was the basis for my success. Therefore, there was no point in leading a trail to the bed of my younger brother, no matter how satisfying it would have been to have seen him accused and cry as he protested his innocence. I replaced the jar and scooped up my bounty ready to pad back to my bed and enjoy my stolen snacks and reflect on my skills. Even back then I knew what people’s weaknesses were and how best to exploit them.
5 thoughts on “The Cookie Jar”
I have only just discovered your work in the last month. Wow! What an eye-opener, and a game-changer!
About this great story, it reminds me of the film ‘Les Quatre Cent Coups’. About a french boy who reacts normally with adults and gets into all kinds of trouble with them, and his friend who is devious and clever, takes care of himself under the circumstances and doesn’t get caught. I was taken to that film by an elderly man who I think was probably an ultra, who was trying to teach me to be less of an idiot.
My life has been full of Narcissists, but I didn’t know what they were, so to myself I labelled them psychopaths or hysterics (mother). I don’t know if you can be more than one thing as mother had hysterical paralysis, but my way to understand narcissist fuel and changing hystory and devaluation of father was just to think of her.
Anyway I used to regularly sneak downstairs at night to steal biscuits from the biscuit tin because I was hungry. I was very thin and small. Mother controlled all the food in the house and was in charge of every morsel that anyone put into their mouth and had something to say about it. Eating in secret was such a luxury. At easter, I used to creep downstairs (being careful to avoid the steps that creaked) and carefully get into the easter egg box, unwrap the foil, open up the 2 halves of the egg and steal a sweet from inside, then wrap it back up perfectly. I am in my sixties so in those days there was no plastic. My younger brother tried this trick and made such a hash of it that he was found out and punished.
I love this story, it really gets to me. I wish you had eaten the whole jar full. I remember trying to calculate how many I could get away with eating. I only ever dared take two.
Thanks, very much
– “What I see here is a young boy in the natural and necessary developmental stage of individuation, whose insight and Empathic emergence is being met with the restrictive posturing of an emotional manipulator. The action of the emotional manipulator is most likely unconscious; however it is not hidden to those who navigate with a more evolved self awareness, such as the boy in this experience.
He is attuned correctly to the collective submission he is both observing and powerlessly participating in.
He knows of a deeper truth of which he learns to suppress; it is his only means of protection against a sea of wounds to which he is reliant on. Again, he attempts to teach, exercising both free will of truth and choice by expressing his -natural intelligence- “I like them all grandma, I don’t have a favorite” and he is diminished once again- this time through sound- the sound of laughter.” –
(I like this observation by a reader -Shelley, from the early times on the blog – very much..)
As a teenager, I was notoriously stealing money from my mom’s wallet. Without any remorse. I took, what was due to me.
I am her. She is me. The line between us was very blurred.
I stole my grandmother’s gold rings with large gemstones. From my father’s safe, where these rings were hidden so my uncle would not steal them…
I remember the thefts, just for the excitement… Billiard ball. Hindu oil. Pointless items.
Currently, I am a symbol of honesty for people.
I am very observant. I am lucky to find jewelry. The gold bracelet, which I found 3 months ago, returned to its owner after a few days – I engaged hundreds of people in my search. Another gold bracelet, found a month ago, was put on the owner’s wrist, after 2 hours of my investigation.
Recently, I found a banknote on the street and all passers-by claimed that it was not their money. The last woman checked her wallet and smiled: “It’s not my banknote either. You’re in luck!” I stood pale, hesitant and unhappy. I mumbled with anguish: “I wish, not to have this lucky…” And a banknote that nobody wanted and wasn’t mine was burning my hand away.
N2 is still stuck at a level, that for me is just a foggy past. Something, that I once trodden down and thrown into the trash.
“You are a thief. You are robbing me and your own child” – I told him when he showed up after 13 years, during which he had not paid a single maintenance installment per child.
To N2: How do you feel now, when you pay all your payments and even “voluntarily” giving more? Better, right? Two years and 4 months… You don’t even know why you do it. But you feel good then… Mixed feelings? Yes, I’m under your control… and I’m almost… oh, I was… whore!… and I’m at your fingertips again…
You said my name…
You said my name…
You said my name…
Pause. Go away.
I love reading this story because it takes me back to my own childhood memories of my grandmother. She never, ever said anything about helping her to clean up and have ONE as a “treat”. Shortbreads were her specialty (for me 🙂 ). I can almost recall the smell and can certainly remember her kitchen that looked out into the back of the property. The whole family would come and stay, including two cousins, 2 aunts, an uncle. During sunny days, my sister and I would have a little table and have our lunch outside. I still have that little table. My grandfather made it. His workshop. The outside loo. All these memories coming to the fore. Yes. The good times 🙂 What is different about it this time round? No pain attached, so there was no need for pushing the memories away.
Lucky you…. you got to sit in a tree for hours…I barely had enough time to sleep.