Grateful for a gamble paying off.
I asked Lucy on four separate occasions leading up to her birthday, if she wanted a party with her friends. The answer was the same every time. No. When asked what she did want to do, the answer was the same every time. "Hang out with you and Benji". Cool. Rightio.
We had planned the equinox party weeks ago. It seems to be a bit of a thing now, us having a wee shindig in celebration of the four main changes of season (you'll recall winter solstice, yes?). The closest Saturday to spring equinox is tomorrow, the day we chose to celebrate. A day which also happens to be four days out from Lucy's birthday. Now, we have spent many afternoons recently purchasing gifts and attending birthday celebrations for Lucy's friends and she has been so wonderful about the giving aspect of birthdays. It began to niggle at me that she wouldn't be given the opportunity to receive blessings from her friends, on her birthday. This, is really important to me. For a couple of reasons.
It is very apparent in our society, that women (and I imagine men too, although I don't see it as often) have real difficulty receiving. Be it help, be it love, be it affection, be it attention, be it a compliment - be it almost anything! We ask ourselves "do I look like I'm not coping?", "do I usually look like shit?", "what has he done?", " what does he want?".... We find it difficult to simply accept that someone might be inspired by love to give - yup - to us.'
You know what I'm talking about, right?! Exactly.
What a wonderful gift to give my child - the ability to receive, without believing there is any other reason behind the gift - other than how it was unconditionally intended. I very much want that for her.
The other reason of course, is simply being given an opportunity to express gratuity. You may have gathered by now, I am a strong believer of what-goes-around-comes-around/karma/Wiccan rule of three/manifestation - whatever you want to call it. That which you give energy to, returns to you (usually with more power). If you tithe, you are creating a universal boomerang of wealth back to you. If you are kind, you will attract kindness. (I also believe the same is true for negativity.) The oomph behind the power of manifestation however, is gratuity. Expressing authentic gratefulness, I believe, is the tether, the link between intent and actuality.
So while I don't coach my child on reciting 'thank yous' devoid of feeling or meaning, we do talk about saying thank you as a means of expressing gratuity. Being grateful that someone cared and thought about us with the planning, the purchasing or making, the wrapping and the giving of a gift. A gift, just for us. Cos that's a whole lot of love that goes into that. A whole lot of love with our name on it, being directed towards us through universal energy. And that's certainly something to be grateful for. And when we're grateful for something - it keeps coming back!
So, while she didn't actually *request* a party - we were having one anyway. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to sprinkle some undivided attention her way. I had to make cake anyway. Yep. I do the cake thing. Not fabulously by any stretch - you most certainly know they are home-made! But every year I make her a cake (except when she turned three, when I did three cakes - don't ask). One of the most wonderfully warming memories of my childhood, is flicking through the Birthday Cake book, planning next year's cake. My sisters and I would spend hours pouring over the pages *wistful sigh*. I managed to get my hands on the exact same book when Lu was tiny and it's a tradition I have resurrected with her (there's a fair amount of *squeeeee* in this, I must say).
This year, she wanted a butterfly. An azure butterfly. You know, with black around the edges? Cos, it's not an azure butterfly without black around the edges. Oh, and it's iridescent. Did you know that?
So. I have the pattern. In the book. It has a wing span of 40cm and is about 30cm tall. I'm sorry - what do you mean cake tins don't come that big? Feck. Yes, the book did call for two perfectly reasonably sized cake tins, from which the two cakes would then be joined together. But I didn't have those, either. What I did have, was a roasting pan. A ha. Which brings me back to the first line of this post. Very grateful for a gamble paying off.
I tripled the recipe, popped it in the oven, then watched it like a hawk.
Cooking time was actually less than one cake in one tin called for (increased surface area of the roasting dish I imagine). Then it was time to cut it out. How ingenious is the toothpick idea?! (Not mine by the way). Don't you love?!
And then ice.
Did I mention I did a 6pm yoga class tonight (yep, not one missed yet! I know, I've totally nailed this caper *grin*), parented my child to sleep, then ate, before beginning all this at like 9pm. By 12am, I left my beloved to tidy the kitchen while I stumbled to bed, eyes barely open, alarm set for 6.30am to crucify myself in yoga, yet again.
(I'm just going to mention here, that I wrote this post the following night, because I could have barely written my own name that night, such was my state of exhaustion. As a bonus feature of this day's post, you will get a sneak preview of what happened the following morning!)
I thought it looked pretty ace. I very much wanted to surprise her with it, but then, I know it needed to be perfect, otherwise the disappointment would wound us both. I needed an opportunity to fix it, if I needed to before unveiling at the party. When we woke the following morning, I said "I have a surprise for you." "Where is it?" she asked. "In the fridge" I responded. The look on her face was classic! "Who hides surprises in the fridge, Mum?" she exclaimed. I cracked up, but she was already off down the hallway to the fridge.
I did the eyes closed, right now OPEN! on her - my eyes glued to her face, exploring her reaction. I think I actually held my breath.
Eyes wide, scanning, smiling. "It looks ace, Mum."
Exhale. Smile. Whew!
"And you can tell it's an azure butterfly, cos it has black round the edge!"
I smiled up at Ben. It's all in the details with my child. Another gamble of hoping licorice would suffice in absence of black food colouring (which I don't even know exists!) paid off.
Cake: Total win.
PS, Happy Spring Equinox <3