One of the things that I am learning through this process, is that being able to use my creativity is something that really lights me up. A blank canvas… or cake… with a wide-open “what-if?” is one of the ways that I find light.
I know that one person’s light can be another person’s dark. What lights one person up is not always the same thing for another person. Part of my journey has been identifying those things that truly light me up.
Birthday cakes are one of those things. Not that they’re delicious, though that certainly helps. And not that they’re in celebration of a birthday, though that’s certainly part of it. But the real light-up for me is the chance to be creative.
I come from a long line of women who love to create. My paternal grandmother started a tradition a long time ago with her children where she asked them what kind of birthday cake they wanted… and gave them a good deal of creative license. My aunt one year wanted a plaid birthday cake. And somehow my grandmother made one.
My own mother liked this idea when my dad shared it with her, and so she also let my siblings and me challenge her to come up with our wild and crazy cake ideas. I remember her making a cake that looked like a pizza, a computer, and Halley’s comet.
Since my own heart sings at the chance to be creative, I have put the challenge to my children as well. Over the years I have made cakes that look like a monkey, a nail polish bottle, a magnifying glass, a piano, a swimming pool, and a construction site.
Now, I know that for some people, just buying a cake and not stressing about it is the best way to lighten their load for a birthday celebration. I totally get that. But for me, creating the cake is the most fun part of getting ready for a birthday.
This year, the twins wanted a race track. Awesome! Yes, I could have used fondant (but I don’t like to eat it and isn’t that the point of cake?) and I could have really gone crazy (have you seen Pinterest?) But what I came up with was the perfect mix of creative and this-is-how-much-time-I-had-on-a-week-night.
And the boys loved it!
We keep everything else about birthdays pretty simple. Daddy takes the day off work. We go somewhere fun together (this year it was the zoo), the birthday celebrant(s) get to pick what we eat for the meals that day (Chick-fil-a this year!) and we sing, blow out candles, and eat a very creative cake.
Do you do something that makes birthday celebrations light?