family, kindness, mom

Trial Run

“Let’s make this!”

I looked up from the sink filled with dirty dishes, soap suds swishing warm water across my fingers, to see my six-year-old pointing at the laptop screen.

“Be there in a sec,” I replied, pulling my dripping hands from the water, drying them on a faded kitchen towel.

“Mommy, it’s perfect! We can have an Angry Birds birthday party! Here’s the cake I wanna make!” I peered over his shoulder to see a basic sheet cake covered in green frosting with miniature Angry Birds figures scattered around a fallen wooden structure. The words “Happy Birthday” were piped in colored frosting to the left.

He was so excited, his small body fell into the computer desk as he leaned closer to the image shown. “I’m ok,” he quickly alerted, “Let’s make this today!”

It’s July. 

His birthday isn’t until September.

I don’t make cakes.

No, seriously. I don’t make cakes.

My children know I adore themed celebrations. There’s something about the planning of decorations and activities that reminds me of the perfect childhood I never had. And while I don’t bake cakes, I feel compelled to create these timeless memories for my family.

“Mommy! Listen to me! We gonna make this today!” He jumped down from the computer chair and stood in front of me, hands on his hips, his sweet smile replaced with a showdown glare. “TO-DAY!”

I could hear the strains of “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” playing in my mind with Clint Eastwood’s swagger reflected in my son’s stance. He was determined to be the last man standing. There was no way I was coming out of this showdown unscathed.

I knew this was a losing battle. He may only be six, but he’s sixteen with persistence.

It’s July.

His birthday isn’t until September.

Why can’t we bake a cake just for fun?

My dirty dishes would have to wait. It was time to make memories. “It’s a trial run,” he shrieked with glee, “Let’s do this!”

Sometimes as parents we need to surprise our children with random acts of kindness. I don’t bake cakes. In fact, in the 17 years I’ve been a mom, I have never once made a birthday cake for any of my three children. I always buy their premade cakes from grocery stores or have them custom-created by friends, with no guilt whatsoever.

But today was different. Today I became a cake baker for my son.

We went to the grocery store and purchased cake mix, frosting, food coloring, and eggs. Returning home, I searched for a hand mixer as he gathered items from his Angry Birds game to decorate the top.

He cracked the eggs. He mixed the batter. He even helped me change the frosting from white to green.

After the cake was baked and cooled, with icing spread from left to right, he meticulously placed the Angry Birds items on top using the picture he found on the internet as his guide.

Cake 4

“Mommy, can you write the words, but let me write my name?”

And with that, his trial run birthday cake was complete!

That’s when it hit me.

This wasn’t about the birthday cake.

It was about the process.

It was about quality time.

It was about taking the time to make memories and validating my son’s purpose in the moment.

And that, my friends, is priceless.

Be blessed with kindness as you look for ways to shine your light in small and simple ways. For Gae Polisner, Cindy Ashburn, and Andrea Kish, I wish you the happiest of birthdays today!



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