Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

TBT: A Lapse in Tradition

Early on in my initiation as a Fife, it was made known to me that my mother-in-law had always made really cool cakes for Kirk and his siblings, and that this was a tradition Kirk would love to continue with our kids.  He even showed me the old, ragged cake book his mom had kept and from which his siblings borrowed cake ideas.

My first step along the road to birthday insanity was to restore this book.  I scanned and colored its pages and produced it in binder form, complete with page protectors to stave off long-term icing stains.  This step happened before I even had a kid of my own for whom to make a cake.

Then the kids came.  And so did the cakes.  I've made some pretty cool ones (the best came after we discarded the old book and just came up with our own ideas).  An iPod complete with fruit roll-up apps.  Adam's recent pirate ship.  Trains, baseballs, a pretty awesome tiger.  From the first cake, I quickly discovered that I really enjoy it.  Truth be told, that's the only reason I am willing to put HOURS and usually about $30 into each cake.

Prior to March 2013, I custom made 16 birthday cakes (8 for A, 5 for X, and 3 for D).  And then a terrible thing happened.

Technically, that terrible thing was called "Student Teaching," but when I think back on it, I mostly just remember all-nighter after all-nighter after all-nighter.  I also remember always being behind on something.  And in the middle of this sleepless nightmare, Alex turned 6.

We planned the party.  We arranged for it to be at Grandma Tess's house, because there was NO way we would find time to have the party and clean the house.  The date loomed closer and closer, and I finally had to make a decision.  

Kill myself to make a cake.


Take Alex to Reams and let him choose a store bought cake.  (Oh, the horror!)

It was a really hard decision.  Far more difficult than a cake should be.  But in over-dramatic Andrea style, I couldn't fathom a lapse in tradition.  All I could see was an end.  That once I served a cake I didn't make that I would never look back, and the days of mom's cakes would be over.

I probably put way too much meaning into these things.  But as a working mom, I tend to cling to the few mom things that I know I hit out of the park.  I may delay family dinner a few times a week.  I may have missed half the baseball season last year because of school.  I may... well, let's just say I'm substandard in a lot of areas.  But I make awesome cakes.  What kind of mom would I be if I gave up on that?

Well, I gave up.  And it was the right choice.  Alex loved his Reams Angry Birds cake.  I didn't die trying to provide something that was probably only important to me.  And though the less-awesome-cake-tradition did continue through D's October (remember, Jekyll & Hyde / new full time work / Dickens Festival) birthday, I proved with Adam's pirate ship that it was only a lapse.  Mom is back!