Scheduled, organized. Skills I like to think I have, except when the hectic demands of life converge into one day. Then even I fall apart.
“No, you can’t have a birthday party,” I told my daughter this year. “But I’ll make you any cake you want.” Parties aren’t my thing. Growing up, I only ever had one that I can think of. And I don’t remember it with fondness.
Eventually, my daughter got over her disappointment at mommy’s stubbornness and made up her mind. “I want the applesauce and ice cream cake,” She said, which translates into cinnamon cake roll filled with ice cream and drizzled with Caramel. Then what’s the applesauce about, you ask? It’s one of the ingredients.
This week, her big day finally came. Unfortunately, so did every other demand on my life plop down on this day. By the time I finished writing outlines for a meeting I had to attend that night, dealing with finical things as the treasurer for the Henderson Writers Group, and wrangling the small children I watch in my home every day, there wasn’t much time left to make my daughter’s cake. But make it I did. I had already denied her a party. The cake had to happen.
That night, in the hour I had before my meeting, as a family, we sang the birthday song. She blew out candles then opened her gifts. But the cake had not been in the freezer long enough. As I cut it, the still soft ice cream inside allowed the roll to flatten slightly into an oval rather than the nice pretty round shape it should have been. Now this may not sound like a big deal, but in that moment, it upset me more than I can say. I had failed to deliver the one thing I had promised my daughter to the level I knew I was capable.
When I returned home from the meeting, where I’d spent most of the time internally kicking myself, I went to my daughters room. Already asleep, I decided not to wake her for the grand apology I had planned. I adjusted her covers then bent down to kiss her cheek. Her little arms came around my neck. “Mommy, I love you,” she groggily said. Her words comforted my troubled heart. She still loved me, even with my shortcomings. Really, in the end, that’s all that mattered. And next year, I’m building her a seven tiered cake with raspberry filling and a marshmallow based fondant. Now where’s that Martha Stewart magazine?