Sunday, August 11, 2013

Piece of Cake

When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to my birthday. Of course, I loved getting birthday presents, and I loved that it was the one time every year that I got to choose the whole dinner menu (and even omit vegetables without being scolded). But what I loved most of all was the cake. When I was older, the good part about the cake was that I got to choose the flavor, but when I was small, the exciting part of the cake was that my mom would make it in the shape of something. One year it was a choo-choo train with Oreo wheels. One year it was a caterpillar with miniature candy-cane antennae. A bright red ladybug with licorice spots. A teddy bear with a gumdrop nose. Some years it was the shape of the number of my age decorated with my favorite candies.

But it was always something more special than a cake-shaped cake, and it was always something that I loved. And it was usually a surprise.

I promised myself as a child that when I had children, I would do the same for them for as long as they enjoyed it. Little did I know that by the time I had children of my own, extravagant cake decorating would be a huge trend and elaborate fondant-trimmed cakes created by a bakery (or a much more artistic and talented mom than I) would be the norm.

So when I sat down to make my own children’s cakes, I was intimidated for a moment that my creations would not be as spectacular as these. But you know what? I knew that my kids wouldn’t care. Like me, their cakes will be special to them not because they are works of art, but because they will know that their mom spent time choosing, baking, and decorating something special just for them. 


And if I raise my kids so that knowing that someone did something special for them makes them happy, then I’m doing something right with this parenting thing. And that’s so much more important than baking the perfect cake.

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