About 9 years ago I was on a Health and Wellness retreat (yoga, meditation, life coaching) in the Bahamas. At one point, the life coach gives us an exercise asking us to imagine our own personal blueprint. We thought about our habits, patterns, beliefs, DNA/health history, goals, etc. Next, we were asked to think about our parents and their blueprint. All of their foundations and circumstances that caused them to develop a certain way. How they react to things, what their preferences are...the stuff that makes them who they are. Finally, we were asked to match our traits to each of them. Did we get this from our father? Are we built like our mothers? Are certain behaviors consistent in all three of us, and on and on. We were asked to find the differences and similarities in the different blueprints.
I reference that exercise often when I think about my mom and dad. I take pride in who I am because of who THEY are. One of my favorite qualities about myself is my ability to say Yes. I have an innate 'I can do it' attitude. Did I inherit this trait from my parents? Yes and no. Through the years I've sharpened this quality into a positive attitude and I live my life looking for the good in people and in situations. I think this type of honing is specific to me and who I have become.
"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. " -OSHO
But I think about the 'Yes' part and it all comes from my mother, Little Rita Jean Romero. She may have the word "No" on the tip of her tongue in any given situation, but in nearly every instance I can think of, she's come through with a "Yes."
My dad, sister, and I have been loved and mothered so well by this woman through the many times she said Yes. Mom put herself second and agreed to go along with our wants and needs. How remarkable! I know this isn't a unique quality, it's kind of an unspoken Mom rule, right? "Put everyone's needs above your own."
I think about her young married life as a teacher in Colorado. When my dad gets a teaching/coaching job in Joplin, Missouri which means they must move, she says Yes and moves 14 hours away from her family, leaving her own job, to an unknown state.
My generous father invites every wayward teen and football player unable to go home for holidays/summer breaks to join our family. My mother says Yes, then sets another plate at the table and wraps another present to put under the tree.
My dad becomes a bird dog trainer in his spare time and we must build dog kennels to house 40+ dogs. And then get horses to use for hunting and the dog training. He needs help caring for all of these animals. Rita says Yes, Yes and Yes. He plants acres of garden that must be cared for by the whole family. She greets this hard work, and her complaining daughters, with a Yes.
Even though my dad is the well respected athlete and coach, I think I've learned more lessons about teamwork from my mother. Every time she offered up a Yes, she was doing something to benefit others, to serve others, to please others. She's even found a way to say Yes when paying the family bills and managing our family's money. When things seemed impossible she always found a way to make it work.
All these years later she says Yes a million times a day while caring for our dad, the few animals (I think they're down to three dogs and two cats,) and their home. There's no one else to do things, so she steps up day in and day out to get it all done. Little Rita without a doubt is the MVP of the Adams Family Team.
When my sister and I were little girls, our family drove those 14 hours back to Colorado every summer. A highlight from those trips, and the reward for logging all of those hours in the car, was a cookie jar full of chocolate chip cookies made by our grandmother. The adults were rewarded with a different cookie. It was bitter and crumbly with not enough sugar for our little girl palates. It was a Biscochito. Made with lard and anise seed. They were famous treats from when our mother was a little girl, made by her grandmother. Biscochitos are the national cookie of New Mexico and were first introduced in Mexico by Spanish settlers who brought the recipe over from Spain.
When my grandmother, Rose, died three years ago, my aunt Annette gave me all of her recipe cards. I've saved this Biscochito recipe wanting to do something special with it. So as a thank you to my mother for teaching me to say Yes and to approach things with an 'I can do it' attitude, and as a tribute to my dear grandmother, these cookies are on their way to you, Little Rita.
- 6 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (divided)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups vegetable shortening
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)
- 2 teaspoons anise seed
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
Sift flour, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and baking powder together. Set aside. With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar together until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients and milk and mix until well combined. In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Scoop out the cookie dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 13-15 minutes on the top rack of a 350 degree oven until the bottoms are crisp and the tops are firm.