The Memory of Frosting
When we were little my dad used to make us homemade birthday cakes cut into familiar shapes and displayed on large foil covered boards; a Raggedy Ann doll with Oreo cookies for feet, a big white rocket ship among them. I can vaguely recall him making the intricate details with colored icing and dotting row after row of little frosting stars to make these in our honor. I know I have pictures of them somewhere and they were quite impressive in scale as well as in concept. It's the idea of my dad imagining and then making these cakes for us that really is now so touching, because I understand as a mom now what a labor of love this is.
Dad used to make us other things too, painted bookcases and cool furniture with matching upholstered chairs for our rooms, mine always pink and green, my brother's blue and red. He even hooked me a beautiful rug wall-hanging with a big basket of playful, white kittens and my name stitched in curly capitol letters across the bottom. I wish I had a photo of his work in progress, but I know that it must have taken many many hours. This thought makes me smile.
I do love making things for my kids. It is a big part of our connection to one another. It isn't often though, that I make birthday cakes as the delectable butter cream confections made by our local favorite nut-free bakery are so divine and baking is not really my forte. Still, there have been an inspired few created over the years born of the same devotion as my dad's, long and messy projects like a cow for a One Year celebration 8 years ago and a requested "little yellow fishy" for my three year old last summer, with a few others in between. Each time, I thought of my father laboring over a similar sheet of cake and felt a connection with him in that simple shared moment.
As I walk through these experiences in my motherhood where I can feel both perspectives, as both a mom and as a child, there is a profound sense of knowing, of loving and having been loved, discovered through one mirrored moment as simple as frosting a cake.