The Cake that Love Baked

So about that cake.

We made it, but Spring Break is not proving to be cake. Or, maybe it’s that yesterday was exactly like the cake we baked (yep, that’s it in the photo)!

Here’s what happened on our Spring Break Monday:

Measuring the whole wheat flour.

Whisking the dry ingredients.

Butter for the pans and cake. Good cutting work practice!

The kids prepped and mixed all the dry ingredients.

And then I raced the clock to make the frosting while the cake cooked and cooled. (The frosting recipe was about three times as big as what we needed.) All this rushing was so we could deliver the cake as a surprise for my husband, in honor of our 7th anniversary, at lunchtime.

A very late lunchtime, with a few meltdowns along the way.

Including from me.

And from the cake.

Yep, that’s how it turned out. I didn’t let the top layer cool long enough before I plopped it on top of the bottom layer  and finished the frosting job.

Our broken but still edible cake. Celebrate!

Turns out it eats just as well as if it had stayed in one piece.

Still, I was disappointed, and it showed. My 5 year old asked whether I was bummed because the cake wasn’t perfect.

(Ha! If she only knew that Me + Baking = Perfect is a laughable equation if ever there was one!)

“Not that it wasn’t perfect, sweetie,” I explained, in one of my few calm moments of the day. “I’m just disappointed that it was broken.”

That was my one and only teaching moment, and it pretty much spoke to the heart and heartbreak of Day 3 of all-day solo-parenting: Nothing perfect about it, and a whole lot that felt broken.

In fact, Day 3 was perhaps my least-good day of mothering in recent memory ever. (I will spare you the unflattering details! You’re a mother. You can imagine how it went down. The cake was just one tiny piece of the pie.)

I gently reminded my aching, embarrassed self that I don’t have experience parenting my kiddos all day for days on end. 24-7 Camp Mommy is a new offering. And we are out of our usual rhythm, here in SpringBreakland.

Parenting as a spiritual practice? Dear God, please let us tread deep into forgiveness, compassion, and understanding like Right Now!

So, I made a few changes for today. Today started with a very helpful 3 hours of outdoor play. Then a shared lunch. And now some quiet, unwinding time.

It’s not perfect by any means, and I can live with that. And what I am So Very Happy about is that it is So Much Better than yesterday. We have yet to leave the house; it’s getting to be late afternoon and we haven’t crafted or created much of anything; and there were still some rough patches.

But it –the day, our love, our connection– feels blessedly far from broken.

After yesterday's various messes, we saved this satisfying clean-up for today!

Not perfect, but not broken. We can find all kinds of love in that!

To all you mamas who are in the midst of imperfectly doing something you’ve never done before, and breaking and not breaking all kinds of everything as you go: I love you!

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