This little boy teaches me BIG lessons over and over and today was no exception. I had to work Saturday and so I didn't have a chance to get to the grocery store and then get the cakes made a day early like I prefer to do. I knew when I started the project Sunday morning that it was going to be a push to get it done. That and there were some things that I had never tried before in the world of cake decorating (and that I won't be doing again).
I was mortified at the results. It was a big pile of slimy pink frosting with white accents piped on carefully that had since slid down the sides. The lights were crooked. The ladder was off center. It was hose-less. A Pinterest fail of epic proportions. My heart sank. I just wanted him to have a cool fire truck cake and this was certainly not it. That, and selfishly, I didn't want this to be the cake that my family talked about 15 years from now. "Remember the year of the horrible, pink, vegan fire truck cake?" Sigh.
With that in the front of my mind, I raced over to the grocery store and bought chocolate sandwich cookies for the wheels, two little cartons of ice cream and sorbet, and a giant chocolate chip cookie cake with the words Happy Birthday Emmett in white frosting. A back up plan.
I got home put the wheels on and slid the cake back in the fridge to try and prevent further deterioration and melting. E and his dad came inside after playing football in the yard. He asked about his firetruck cake. I opened the refrigerator door and let him look inside. His reaction was the last thing I expected. "Mom! It's my fire truck cake! For my fire party at Grammy's. Wow! Mom, great job!" Cue the heart melting and the eyes welling up. He didn't care that it wasn't perfect. What he saw was a truck, a red firetruck, with red and yellow gumdrop lights, a white ladder, cookie wheels, and it was just for him, in honor of HIS birthday. He knew in his 3 year old way, that I had been working on it all morning and afternoon and he loved it. He loved it because it was from me to him. At that reaction, I immediately felt worse. Was it, in fact, sad that he thought it was "perfect"?
We loaded up the car with everything one might need for a party, including a perfect looking chocolate chip birthday cookie with calligraphy and a heap of homemade vanilla cake with pinkish frosting and candy accents in a semi square shape. I carried the truck cake on my lap on the cake board and my husband turned the air conditioner up to keep it from melting. We got to Grammy's and I apologized profusely for the cake that I quickly slid into their fridge. After dinner, Emmett put 4 candles in it wherever he chose, blew them out as we snaped a few million pictures of him and we cut it up and ate it with ice cream. It really tasted just fine. I knew the cake and frosting would taste okay. No other mention of it was made and the party continued until it was time to pack up and head home for bathes.
The next day (his actual birthday) I told him that we would cut into the cookie with his name on it. He thought that was pretty great because, really, who would complain about two birthdays? After dinner, I gave him his slice and he took one bite and pushed the plate away. "Mom, this is terrible." He hated the cookie and the frosting. A three year old not eating a chocolate chip cookie, with frosting!? Well, honestly, he was right. It tasted like cardboard with white Crisco flavored frosting. Yuck, but.... it looked great. Yeah, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the lesson there. Appearances can be deceiving and food made with love really is superior. Pretty sure the 18 year old kid in the grocery store bakery did not bake love into the cookie or add it to the frosting scraped out of the 10 gallon bucket. I loved Emmett with every bit of me as I measured flour, sugar, and baking powder and mixed, poured, baked, frosted and decorated. An entire Sunday to make something that only he could truly appreciate. (Oh, and apparently Kona, our dog, was also quite appreciative as she managed to snag several tastes and ruin two attempts. Sigh, I digress.)
So the three year old in the house, once again, teaches his mother a valuable lesson in giving, receiving, and seeing through eyes filled with love and understanding.
Happy Birthday Emmett!