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Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's just a cake

This day is supposed to be fun. Supposed to be fun. Supposed to be fun.

No matter how many times I keep telling myself this, my perfectionistic self keeps talking right back.

You won't have enough seating. Everyone will be bored. You didn't plan the snacks well. There's not going to be enough cake. You forgot to pick up ice cream and cups. You procrastinated on too many things.

At least, I consoled myself, I like my theme. And it's not too hard.

Black, white and pink all over.

I got some adorable things. Maddy picked out zebra striped plates. I picked out black and white polka dot napkins. I got clear cellophane snack bags with a Damask print to send home pink sprinkle popcorn as the favors.

And my favorite of all??? A zebra print cake mix. With pink icing on top.

Last year, for the first and last time, I looked up pintrest for maddy's 4th birthday party theme: sprinkles.

Before that event, my party M.O. was lazy simple.

I baked cupcakes and frosted them. Maddy decorated them with sprinkles. They always looked awful, but tasted great. I served it with ice cream. And your choice of water or coffee.

Family came over, and we opened presents. And that was It. No fanfare. No themes. No favors, no games, no nothing. At least nothing Facebook- or pintrest-worthy.

But last year, I wanted do something really special. And with the help of my sisters, we pulled it off, and sprinkle party still gets mentioned by maddy a year later. (And might I add, it took about a year to stop finding sprinkles in the rocks in our floor.)

But as much as that party lives on in Maddy's book of all-time-cool memories... I was craving something simpler this year.

The theme started with a pack of cute black and white birthday candles. And I knew I had to get them.

Same trip, I find the cake to beat all cakes. I'd already tackled tie-dye cupcakes... And what could be more perfect?? Zebra print cake, with pink frosting.

Maddy would LOVE this.

(or maybe, really, this one was all about me.)

The cake started out tonight awesome. The pattern was coming out just like it said it would. I only needed one cake pan --- which was great because little miss has managed to hide one of our cake pans and I can't find it anywhere.

When I cut the cake in half to add icing in the middle, the inside looked amazing.

(And that, my friend, is the very last time anyone will use the word "amazing" for this cake.)

When I added the top layer, it was falling apart. I couldn't flip it over properly, so I had to put the top on upside down. I've done it before without much fuss.

But this time the cake is literally crumbling apart. Ryan tried to hold the sides together as I slathered on all the icing I could. I think I hoped magically the icing would turn into pink, strawberry-flavored glue.

It did not.

And I had used all my icing, and there was none left for the sides.

I only had a can of purple vanilla icing in my pantry.

Ok, I thought. I can make this work. Pink on top, purple on the sides. Maybe I can make it look like this was on purpose.

But the icing on the sides just literally pulled the cake apart.

My beautiful masterpiece looked like a kindergartener's science fair project erupted all over it.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Ryan promises to bake a cake tomorrow in the copious amount of free time we (don't) have.

But I didn't want just any cake. I wanted THiS one. With the zebra print.

Ryan (the logical one here) reminds me that it is JUST a cake. Maddy will love it. (and she probably will.) "We'll feed this one to the kids, and make a prettier one for the adults."

As I concede and head to bed, I think to myself... You know. It's not just a cake. It's a memory. And I have a choice to make this one a shameful, embarrassing one. Or a memory we can laugh at for the years to come.

I choose to laugh.

As I head into Maddy's room long after she's given in to her dreams, I kiss her soft, squishy cheek and hold her limp hand. And I pray that tomorrow I forget all that party stuff which doesn't really matter anyway... And choose to enjoy and celebrate the most beautiful blessing on earth ...

My (not-so-baby) girl Maddy.

Happy 5th birthday sweetheart. And may we have many more cakes and memories to laugh at in the years to come.

(Maddy's sprinkle party last year... And proof that I do know how to frost a cake:)

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