Your Cake, and Eating it Too.

I frosted a cake last night.  Now that may not seem like a big deal…yah, a box cake with frosting…who cares?  Actually, it was a huge deal.

You see, my eldest son stood in the kitchen the other night and said, “I am so craving a chocolate cake right now.  Chocolate….mmmm”  I can relate.  All I can think right now is that I have gone 4 1/2 days without a Diet Coke and I can just imagine cracking open the can, hearing the effervescence, feel the cool of the exterior as I lift its elixir to my lips…..  (pause while I throw cold water on my face)  I had time last night while I was making supper and spotted the cake mix and thought that it would be nice to surprise my son with a cake complete with chocolate frosting.

He was asleep before it had cooled enough to frost, so I told him he could have some in the morning.  We had to leave early this morning and the look on his face when I cut a slice was priceless.  He held out his hand, took the first bite, closed his eyes and sighed.  You know the sigh.  The Diet Coke sigh as you take in the first taste, sound, feel of whatever it is you adore.  Sinking into a perfectly made bubble bath after an incredibly long day, the smell freshly washed and dried sheets…the AAAAhhhhhh effect.  I smiled watching him.  I smiled watching the pleasure, the joy, the enjoyment he derived from that first bite.  He got me thinking.

In all that I write, I try to draw from truth and my own experience.  So, he got me thinking about what we do for one another and why.  A good friend of mine often says, “we can’t be what we haven’t seen.”  I agree with this somewhat.

When I was young, I was allergic to a ton of food.  I was allergic to sugar, milk, citrus and virtually anything that had spice in it.  My options were limited for snacks and treats.  Now, this wouldn’t be so bad, except that I could not voice any desires or preferences as to what I wanted or needed.  In school when my classmates had birthdays or brought treats I would get a piece of sugar free hard candy and watch as others enjoyed cupcakes and candy and…and…and…..  My mouth drooled, and I am sure I looked like a complete dork with my jaw dropped open and waiting.

Have you ever had sugar free hard candy?  Well, in the early 80’s it left much to be desired and the incessant fear of peanut allergies had not taken hold of the elementary population so classmates who didn’t have treats was uncommon.  I was different. Not different in a good way either.   I was weird.  My classmates would proudly pass out their treats and skip over my desk and try not to look at me.  Sometimes my teacher would call me up to her desk and issue 1 coveted piece.  Then there were other times that the teacher would not call me up to the desk and I would sit in my chair alone and sad.  Even the teachers had a tough time looking my direction.  They knew that I knew.  And, it hurt.

They ( my parents) had forgotten to send anything.  Instead of checking with the teachers and making sure that there was a steady supply of treats that I could have, there was nothing.  I remember those moments as I stared at the table in front of me and blinked back angry tears, quietly vowing that if I had a family, they would never feel that way–that if I had a circle of friends, they would know something different.   You can’t be what you haven’t seen, right?

Oddly enough, my parent’s  behavior translated into similar actions for my birthdays.  Instead of parties with a cake and ice cream or at least treats that I could have, there was nothing.  No parties, no friends over, no cake, no ice cream, no candles to blow out and make a wish.  But I did.  I did make a wish every year that next year I would get a huge surprise party with lots of ribbon-wrapped presents, a massive cake made with non dairy and sugar free ingredients, and the best…..tons of friends and family snapping pictures and singing horribly off key.

It never happened.

And, I never thought it bothered me much.  You know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know” ?  Well, I lived that, so I did not know to miss anything.  While I didn’t know what I was missing, I do know what it felt like to want.   I didn’t know what I was missing until I experienced it and it changed my outlook forever.

I remember distinctly the moment a friend of mine decorated a huge Elmo birthday cake  smothered it in orange/red icing and delivered it to a surprise party at a local park they had reserved to celebrate of all things….Me.

It was weird.  I didn’t know how to act, what to do.  Do I host?  Am I supposed to have presents for them?  You see, since I had not ever had a birthday party people stopped inviting me to theirs.  So, there I was, 23 years old, standing there awkward as the horrible off key tune began.  And then it happened.

I smiled.

“I am so craving a chocolate cake right now.”  I was so craving and someone delivered.  I will never forget that cake.  I will never forget the people who gathered.  I do not remember the presents (were there presents?). I don’t remember the conversations, but I do remember how it felt to look at 23 candles—ok 24.  I remember how it felt to know that someone cared, that I had not been forgotten, that I was important.  It felt amazing.

As I blew out the candles framing Elmo’s face, I vowed that if I ever had children they would know….

They know.

“Mom, I am really craving a chocolate cake right now.”  You got it kiddo.

They know if there is a way that I can make something happen, I will move heaven and earth to make it so.  There will always be a supply stashed with the teacher in case they need it.  Their birthday will forever be a huge deal because they are important, necessary, wonderful, and amazing human beings.  If they show an interest in an activity or a hobby and it’s possible to do, I’ll honor that.

I’ll honor that because I know what it means to crave something and not have it met.  I also know what it means to crave and receive.  I’ll honor them because feeling honored is one of the best feelings in the world.

That’s the funny thing.  I didn’t grow up with it, lusted after it, not knowing what IT was. There were singular moments when IT was shown to me, and despite my best efforts to run and hide from it….(The known is more comfortable), I tucked the knowledge that you can break free from cycles and create new realities into my mind for future reference.

Seeing my son enjoy a clandestine (sshhhhh)  breakfast of chocolate cake was a gift I cannot explain.  He closed his eyes, took a bite, and the look of absolute joy brought tears to my eyes.  For now, today, as I type this blog, the cycle is broken.  More than that, he knows….he knows what it means to have his needs met and he knows what it means to have someone listen and respond.  He is becoming what he is seeing……

 

agape,

cindythea.

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Christina
    Jan 24, 2016 @ 16:27:01

    Love it! Beautifully written, my dear!

    Reply

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