Saturday, July 28, 2012

Birthday Cake--#NaBloPoMo

It's my birthday today, and mamamommy's gotta get off of her chair and go into the kitchen to make herself a cake.

What, do you think anyone else is going to do it?

I know that I'm not alone in this. Although I'm not sure how many husbands actually make their wives a birthday cake, my guess is that there aren't many.

That's okay. A store-bought cake works just as well. Truly.

In my husband's defense, he is a lean, mean, take out machine. He can order in a birthday feast for me with the best of them. But the cake? Well, the cake is evolving into a different story.

Our kids have digestive issues, and our older son is intolerant of practically everything. To be certain, nothing at a bakery will meet his dietary restrictions. Even a store-bought mix proves to be tricky.

Need a birthday cake? In this house, the simple answer is that Mom will bake it.

Early on it became my mission for our boys to have the same fun birthday cakes as any other child. The thought of them having some boring rectangle that was hard as a rock and tasted like cardboard broke my heart. Even if it killed me, I wanted their cakes to be special to them.

Our younger son put this to the test for many years.

"Mama?" he asked one year. "Can I have a dolphin cake for my birthday?"

A dolphin? Really? I thought we had satiated the animal theme with the monkey cake the year before. Certain that I was headed to a cake decorating class within the year, I didn't know how I was going to pull off that dolphin cake free of all the ingredients this family requires.

But I did.

Monkeys, dolphins, tornadoes and carousels. I baked them all free of gluten, casein, corn, soy, eggs, nuts and artificial colors.

I'm sick of making cakes. :) I don't even like cake.

Yet, I'm being pulled to the kitchen by another force. One that holds in my not-so-distant mind the memory of older son, who often shuns his birthday cake.

Often, birthday celebrations are just too much for him to take. Still, I feel compelled to make his cake every year, even if he won't go near it, and I light his candle to mark his day before quietly blowing it out.

This year was different. This year, he celebrated his day. He blew out his candle, and he licked icing until there was none left on that cake.

How could I ever take that for granted?

Little brother, always up for celebration, is happy to blow out a candle...and eat cake...and lick icing. He's the boy with no friends. The boy for which we literally have to scrape together birthday celebrations. His parties cause me such angst that I feel the worry in the pit of my stomach.

This year was different. The year he was school phobic and away from school all spring, he spent his birthday on Cloud Nine.

How can that be ignored?

My husband and I go to such tremendous efforts each year to show our children that they are loved and celebrated, that life is good amidst their tremendous daily struggles. How could I send the message to them that any birthday besides their own doesn't matter?

We all matter. We all need to learn to take joy in other people's celebrations.

This year as I face the blinding glare of the many candles atop my own birthday cake, I'm going to count the blessing our little family has seen this past year. And, I'm going to breathe in the moment when we first stand around my birthday cake--without anyone being forced--in order to celebrate.

NaBloPoMo July 2012 Challenge. Blogging on my birthday should count as extra credit.


  1. Extra credit has been applied. Then removed because the cake has not actually been baked yet. Sorry.
    Hope your birthday has been a special day for you. I know of no one who deserves a special day all about them more than you.
    It has been a great year for your family and I hope the next one is even more strides forward and fewer back!


  2. I hope you got that cake baked because no one else would know how! lol Seriously, I hope you had the best birthday ever! With many more happy years to go! And each one filled with less stress and more happy time!

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