Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Say Yes to the Cake

For no reason at all that I know, Annie and Jemma conspired early yesterday morning to ask me if we could bake a cake. It was even before Annie went to school that she asked, "Mom? When I get home from school today, can we make a cake? Pleeeeeeassssseeee?" They gathered around my legs as I poured milk and packed snacks in a backpack, beseeching.

Making a cake was not really in the plans for yesterday. Plans included: unpacking from our weekend in South Haven, laundry, groceries, 30-Day Shred, Meatless Monday dinner-making, and multiple phone calls and e-mails to try to figure out when our school district's February break will be in 2011 plus the accompanying research and decision-making about where we might go. But. My New Year's resolution was to say "yes" more, so I agreed.

They really did make the cake with very little guidance from me. Of course, it takes about twenty times longer with them "helping" - Jemma perched on the counter, dumping in measuring cups full of flour or sugar or spoonfuls of vanilla, Annie standing on a chair to zest the orange and crack the eggs into a bowl - but their pride makes it worth the extra effort. They love to watch the mixer spin around and churn their ingredients into batter; they love to stand and peer into the oven to watch the cakes rise and brown. I hope they have memories of this - of simple May afternoons when we played freeze tag outside and the house smelled like cake cooling on the counter when we came back in.

Just before dinnertime, Annie supervised the whipping of the cream for the frosting, Jemma washed the strawberries, and I put on the finishing touches just as Jason walked in the door. (If that isn't as 1950's housewife as it gets, I don't know what is.) We ate big, thick slices of it after dinner, then carried a big hunk to a neighbor and another chunk to welcome friends to town, and this is all that's left.

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