Tomorrow I have to buy my own birthday cake. Funnily enough it is not the first nor will it be the last time I will need to buy my own cake. I have spent many years picking up small Entenmann’s chocolate fudge cakes so that my children could watch me blow out candles on my birthday. Some years my husband was away for my birthday, some years his head was too far up his own ass to remember to buy one for me. Because it is a World Cup year, he is traveling on my birthday and my daughter’s birthday and my son’s birthday all within 5 days of each other in June. So I am handling all the logistical and emotional needs for their birthdays on my own. But honestly, I would do that whether he was here or not.
I love my husband and am super proud of him and buying my own cake is just part of our weird but totally satisfactory division of labor. No, the craziest thing about it is that I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF CAKE I WANT! I can tell you that my daughter would want an aqua buttercream cake from Magnolia and without thinking say that my 12-year-old son and husband would want Crack Pie from Milk Bar. My 8-year-old son only likes ice cream cake and my eldest loves the largest and most chocolatey cake. I can tell you what my father, my brothers and my sister would want on their birthdays, but I don’t know what I want.
Why is that? To remove any obvious suggestions, I am not an indecisive person – so it’s not that I cannot make up my mind. I don’t have any severe allergies that might restrict my obvious choice. I don’t have a favorite bakery 3,000 miles away that won’t ship cakes.
Two reasons why I don’t know what cake I want.
- I have spent so much thought and energy knowing what the people I love want, that I often don’t give myself the same thought.
- I have spent so many years not really eating dessert to control my weight, that I don’t know anymore what desserts I love.
Would the cake I loved 20 years ago be the cake I love today? Would it be too sweet, too rich? Would it make me feel bloated and guilty? Maybe. Yes. I don’t know.
So today, I’m going to go to the bakery and pick out a cake, maybe more than one cake. Not a cake that I think my kids will enjoy but a cake that I will enjoy. I am also going to eat the cake and savor it. And when my children complain that they don’t like my cake choice, I’m going to tell them to go have some fruit.