We celebrated my mother's birthday a day early. While Sebastian napped, Lucy and I started her cake. If left to my own devices, I would have made this cake all alone--and it probably would have been a simple sheet cake. But each of us had a hand in how it turned out, which makes it memorable to me. First, my mom suggested the recipe and got out her round pans. She described how to line them with parchment paper and then set about washing dishes while I assembled ingredients.
Lucy caught wind of what was going on and begged to help. I summoned up some extra patience and pulled up a stool. She cheerfully dumped ingredients in after I measured them out and for once got to sample the batter, since the cake was vegan. After we got them into the oven, she even helped me clean up.
Later, Emily stepped in to decorate with mildly expired icing, sprinkles, vegan whipped topping, and raspberries we got on our pilgrimage to Trader Joe's. She added her unmistakeable style to this cake and made it a true masterpiece.
For the first time in several years, all but one of us siblings got to eat a slice of my mother's birthday cake. As we enjoyed it, she told us it had been a few years since she'd bothered with a cake at all. Since becoming a mother myself, I feel I've started to understand her better and can truly see her now. I wonder if it will be the same with Lucy.