Last September, it was Scott’s birthday – and so he and his wife, Mae, were coming over for lunch with their young baby girl. The afternoon before they came over, I baked them a cake. Nothing too fancy, but with some extra goodies added. It was a lemon cake – and so I even added in some fresh lemon zest. Now my youngest son LOVES lemon. I mean – he really loves lemon. Like sometimes he squeezes the juice of a lemon into a cup, strains it, adds a little bit of fresh water, and then sips it while eating some pretzels. So my son walks in to the smell of this fresh lemon cake – which is filling every nook and cranny of the house. He asks for some and I tell him that it is for Scott’s b-day – and for everyone – tomorrow. I offer him alternatives. My son pleads with me, “Come on mom, PUH-lease.” Also reminding me of how much he loves lemon. Now this cake did smell delicious – and the aroma made it so TEMPTING for him. I offered him two other things to satisfy his sweet tooth, including an offer of some brownies that were still left in the Tupperware. But this fresh, yellow, lemon cake was sitting right there on the counter – and alternatives were not distracting his temptation. I had a decision to make. What should I do? I decided I would somehow HAVE to let him have some – but how? I did NOT have time to bake another cake – and so I thought and thought – “Hold on, let me think about this,” I told him (albeit a little grumpy about it – but still open to meet his needs…) especially while he was looking at me with those pleading eyes.
Side note – just earlier that week – Colleen (a parent of former art students) well she and I were actually talking about how we HAD to learn our lessons with putting our family first. We shared stories of some days when our “best” baked goods went to other people’s homes. She shared about when she made all these foo-foo chocolates for a formal event, but her spouse was only allowed to sample the scraps and leftover pieces that were not fit for the party tray. We talked about how “over the years” we changed – to now where we give our family the best goodies too – and we “get it” right. You know, we now have days where we make our “meanest and best” goodies “just” for the family to enjoy. We may not bake all the time (and thank God for that), but we find times that we may just bake some amazing items for no occasion – just to serve to the family. We make a batch of this or that for home and not only for a house warming gift or for so-and-so.
~~~ So there we stood. My son and I – with two – freshly cooled – 9” round lemon cakes, right in front of us! I HAD to give him a piece of cake! I knew I
had wanted to! Now yeah, we need boundaries with children and all that, and trust me – I have that down. But sometimes it is just so “sweet” to indulge your child – when things are in balance that is! –And sometimes – it just warms a parent’s heart to give them something they really want. Even a small thing like a piece of cake can be quite special. So I pondered “how” to do this. How could I give him some cake while still having it presentable for our guests the next day? My son helped me mastermind the plan – and we decided to cut a piece from the inside, by going in from the side – and then filling in the hole with extra frosting. (Frosting is like duct tape or hot glue – it really can fix almost anything!) And that is what we did – we sliced out a piece of this warm, lightweight, lemon cake and my son enjoyed every bite. I used frosting to fill in the gap that was left – and I enjoyed frosting the rest of the cake. Nobody noticed the next day at our “causal” birthday lunch – and I was glad it was a success. However, I was even more delighted that I was able to “cater” to my son along the way! It was less about the piece of cake and it was more about investing in him! Here is a picture of it while in the process of filling in the gap.