Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Milk and Cookies

When I was pregnant with my little ones, and for quite a while after they were born, I would bake myself a couple of fresh chocolate chip cookies every single night and eat them along with a cold glass of milk. *sigh*  Few things in life are as delicious or as comforting.

Thank you, Nestle Toll House.
It’s been a rough week, what with our ongoing battle against lice, so this evening, I indulged.  And it was good. So good.

As you can see, tonight’s cookies were served on fine Wall-E ware. Yes, we are bastions of high style here. (Ooh! Ooh! Name the movie: “Why don’t you do what you dream, Bastian?”)

Moving on…

So while I enjoyed tonight’s chocolate-y deliciousness, I found myself thinking about the symbolism of the cookies and milk and Wall-E.  I’m an English major.  It’s what we do.

Depending on whether we’re talking about the cookies or the movie, there’s a little bit of metaphor, a little bit of allegory, but it boils down to nostalgia – there’s that old nostalgia thing again – though this time with the added twinge of fallacy.

I’m not going to go too in-depth, don’t worry, but let’s think about this. Cookies and milk are yummy and fabulous on their own, sure, but there is also a bit of harkening back to childhood and comfort and calm.  Even so, cookies may be scrumptious, but they also are not healthy.  Their sugary, buttery, chocolate-y goodness can negatively impact your health if you indulge in too many.  It’s something we don’t think about as kids, but something that sneaks in as we’re older.  We ignore the bad of cookies at times like tonight, when I choose to think about yumminess (and not about lice)… but the knowledge lurks and lingers.

Same with nostalgia. The phrase “you can never go home again” doesn’t mean you physically can’t go home, obviously, or that you can’t move back to the place where you grew up and be happy.  It means that when you return, you’ll see things through new eyes, and sometimes what you’ll find is that things are different than you remember from childhood. Places. People, too. And while the rosey, heart-leaping blush of returning – for a visit, for a reunion, for a reconnection – can highlight the good and the joy in ways you never imagined, extended exposure can bring to light some less appealing attributes that youth and inexperience held at bay.

It’s like how in Wall-E, people were encouraged to “remember” Earth in a way that didn’t really exist anymore. When they returned to Earth, they had to come face to face with the reality. Similarly, sometimes what you envision in your memory, what you try to make real in the face of the fallacy of your self-designed illusion of how things once were, butts up against reality. Hard. And that can be disconcerting. Even a little heartbreaking. 

The reality also can be simply lovely, as I found when I went home this past summer. But that’s for another post at another time.

So anyway, tonight, I baked a couple of fresh chocolate chip cookies for myself. And I ate them along with a glass of cold mik. Tonight, they were simply… cookies. And they were delicious.


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