The Paradise Bakery sign at the mall made my heart sink. "Didn't all of these bakeries close down?" I thought to myself. Like a magnet, this corner food spot with the fresh baked goods draws me near. As my feet lead me to the bakery, my mind transports me back to my past, twenty-five years, fifteen years, even ten years ago and I'm walking up to a Paradise Bakery with my mom.
My mom didn't enjoy shopping, least of all mall shopping. She was one of those people who knew exactly what what they are looking for and were in and out in a flash. She always shopped with a purpose.
The Paradise Bakery was one of the few detours she'd allow herself to take. It was their sugar cookies that seemed to call her name every time. Happy the child who was shopping with her that day. They always benefited from her one mall addiction.
The Paradise Bakery was appropriately named because one bite of these sugar cookies and you were transported into cookie paradise. Bigger than the palm of your hand with a soft almost doughy texture, the scent of vanilla and the gentle dusting of fine sugar became our one mall indulgence.
Brought back to reality, the clerk, inquires what I would like. I overindulge and ask for six sugar cookies. "I can't wait to let my children try one and surprise my sister Jennifer with a couple." I think to myself.
My mom has been gone almost eight years now. I do the math as I walk away, quickly digging in the bag for my special treasure. I feel a lump form in my throat. I begin to chew, my eyes open wide...the taste is not the same. Where is the delicious flavor? It smells the same, it looks the same...
But it's not the same.
My mom is no longer here to share one with me.
I remind myself that God's word says that in Heaven we will one day eat together at His banquet table. For the moment hope holds back my tears, as I wonder what my mom is doing right now.
I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, mom is enjoying a sugar cookie at the ultimate "Paradise Bakery". Possibly waiting until that day when she can share one again with me.