For me baking is like a reflex. I'll get the urge and BAM! Eggs are cracking, vanilla's flowing and the next thing you know there's a bowl of batter on my counter. I may be mid conversation with my husband and suddenly start grabbing ingredients from the cabinet. "What are you doing?" he'll ask. "I think a banana bread...oh wait a second," I mumble as I check the freezer. "Did I use those frozen bananas last week? Oh well. Guess chocolate chip cookies it is." Minutes later fresh baked goodness is well on its way.

It wasn't until I turned 40 that I realized what a stress reliever baking is for me. Scary, grown up things began happening to my peers: marriage struggles, life threatening illnesses, operations on major organs, parents dying, the death of a child. Friends and I would forward emails and chat on the street about the latest mutual friend, one of our relatives or twice removed person “this” is happening to thinking, no matter how hard we try not to, it's not me, it's not us, not today. When WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer says, "Take nothing for granted, it's great to be alive" I take heed. And when I hear heartbreaking news, I preheat the oven and start cracking eggs. Often a friend will stop by when the goods are cooling and her eyes will light up at the scent of my house. "What are you making?" she asks, inhaling the sweetness, coming in to discuss the latest overwhelming situation. We'll sit in my kitchen, brew cups of tea, and indulge in my latest creation. We'll snuggle in the aromas and flavors as we touch base, knowing full well when crisis arrives on one of our doorsteps, we'll hold each other's hand, cook the other dinner, and bake cookies for everyone. This is how we will ride the wave.

In the meantime, I will savor the "not yet" of today, and keep on baking.