Many of my fondest childhood memories are those of traditions my family established. When I became a mother, I made it a priority to establish traditions for my children as well.
The first tradition was to create a special birthday cake every year for every child.
That sounded like a fine idea when I had one child who was born during one of the slowest seasons on the farm. I made an adorable teddy bear cake, invited
everyone we had ever met several of our closest friends and family members, and celebrated.
The birthday boy hid under the table.
Undaunted, I continued the tradition for every subsequent birthday and every subsequent child.
Last year, I realized that I had made more than 20 very special cakes. Apparently I had failed to do the math when I began this tradition. I had also failed to take into consideration that the subsequent children would be born during busier times of the year.
This child was born during calving.
As a matter of fact, when I was about 7 centimeters dilated while in labor with this baby boy, my husband looked deep into my eyes and asked if he should just go ahead home, check the cows, and come back in the morning. He quickly reconsidered his options and stayed by my side. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my sweet response.
As the third child, Matthew has been well aware of the special cake tradition since he was 2. His birthday cakes have included a teddy bear, a lion, Winnie the Pooh, a horse, and a John Deere tractor.
This year he asked for an excavator.
He also wanted toaster waffles for dinner, but we compromised.
He got hamburgers and a dump truck.
His cake this year is evidence that I am in no danger of being hired by a bakery.
Even the six-year-old realized its shortcomings.
"It doesn't really look like a real one Mom, but that's okay. I still like it," he said, patting me on the arm.
I learned two things on Matthew's sixth birthday.
1. Traditions trump perfection.
2. I'm not going to attempt fondant in the future.