Friday, May 12, 2017

Birthday Cake


My youngest will be turning 3 next week.  As I pull out the flour canister and eye-ball the levels to make sure I have what I need, I feel a sense of anticipation for the future.  We will be able to travel as a family more easily, I’ll have a little more freedom to explore some personal goals that were put on the back burner after having children. 

I break the eggs into the bowl, one and the then the next, there is a lump growing in my throat.  My baby isn’t a baby anymore.  She will be in pre-school this fall.  There are no more diapers in her closet or crib sheets in the dryer.  She can do so much by herself now, she doesn’t need me hovering over her. 

I pour the eggs into the mixing bowl, a slow and steady stream, and I think of the days that pass.  One after another without fail, each morning, she looks a little different.  I brush the hair out of my eyes with the back of my floured covered hand, and I recall the early mornings when I wake to her whispers “good morning!”.  She awaits anticipating for my eyes to open.  That look on her face when she sees my eyes open, that’s what pure joy and love look like.  I may be tired, but this is the last morning she will be this age, in this moment.  “Hang on to it”, I remind myself.

I watch the batter whip up and become fluffy, the beater going back and forth faster than my eyes can follow.  All the things Eliza inherited from me and her father, we are watching her whip them together into something new.  She has a voice and an opinion and a unique view point.  She laughs and sings without abandon, like her father.  She is focused and determined, like her mother.  She is uniquely her own. 

I pour the batter into the greased cake pans and smooth out the tops with a rubber spatula.  My son, who is eagerly assisting now, has asked to lick the beaters.  I put the cakes in the oven and set the timer.  Now we wait.  We wait for the cake to rise and solidify just as we wait for the dawn of the next day.  We know it is coming.  We will all be a day older.  We will all be a little different.  There will be a part of us that will fall away each night when we close our eyes.  It’s a little harder to detect in adults, but we see it in our children. 

My youngest and is growing up, faster than my first it seems.  For a moment, I feel homesick for that newborn baby breath and the sound of the milk drunk coos in my ear.  I will miss the feeling of those tiny legs tucked up under their bellies as they curl up under my chin.  But at the same time, I have so much anticipation of each day because I will be learning something new.  Just as my daughter changes every day, so do I.  My eyes are on the horizon looking for what’s next.  What will help me be a better mom, a better Me?  My kids do that for me.

The cake is done and I pull it out to cool on a rack on the counter.  I now have two little people on either side of me anxious to see it and anticipating when it will be iced and ready to serve. 
Although my eyes are on the horizon, I have to remember to also look down, so I see them and who they are becoming.  I don’t want to miss this.  Because tomorrow, they will be different.

I bake cakes for birthdays because just as we prepare for birth, I like the meditation of preparing for birthdays as well.  A Looking Back to remember, but also looking forward, and remembering not to forget to look down

Happy Birthday, Eliza.

Love, Mom