Today my daughter turns 17.
The daughter who’s heartbeat we thought we lost when she was in her 3rd month of gestation.
The daughter who spent the first year of her life in and out of the hospital with reoccurring eColi infections.
The daughter who’s pic lines I have flushed at 2 in the morning, and hooked up to a pump to give her life giving antibiotics every 6 hours. The daughter for whom I prayed for, over, and with.
This child, who almost wasn’t…..is.
I wanted to make her a fairytale concoction of 3 layers of chocolate mousse filled cake with raspberries, covered in dark chocolate ganache. That is MY idea of what a birthday cake SHOULD be. I’m drooling a little bit just typing these words. But that isn’t what her idea for her cake. So she told me what she wanted. She wanted a plain white cake, with black icing. Not a rich, warm, dark chocolate icing. A vanilla icing dyed black. As in a WHOLE bottle of black food coloring in the frosting.
The stain your teeth and innards with inky darkness for near eternity black.
I sucked on my front teeth silently and bit my tongue so that I wouldn’t blurt out “Oh no, that is not a good idea” and whispered to my brain buzzing which was trying to figure out if you can bleach that much black out your mouth, or will we need to power wash our teeth, “It is her birthday; she is not asking for a membership to a nudist colony retreat, she just wants black icing.”
Isn’t that how it is with love? We often have one picture of what it should look like, while the one we love has an entirely different picture. I had to choose, was this cake about ME, or about HER?
So I made it happen.
Five layers of white cake with french vanilla cream cheese filling, frosted with black KerryGold buttercream icing. It tastes like a piece of fluffy cloud right from Heaven pounced out of the sky and is having a dance party on your tongue.
But it looks like a Goodyear tire. And so will your mouth for about a month.
Did I mention that it is lopsided?
I know that you are supposed to cut off the tops of the layers to make them even. But if you do, you lose 5 slices of the buttery goodness of the cake. You can choose perfection to the eye, but you will sacrifice some of the yumminess.
So I left them imperfectly formed. Just like us.
We are not picture perfect. Our lives, they have some rough edges, some wonky leanings and some never-going-in-a-magazine moments, but when slathered up with some prayer, and mercy, and forgiveness, you just can’t imagine how sweet our lives can be. Even lopsided love is beautiful.
I don’t know where you are today, who you want to love YOUR way, and they want to be loved in another way
but if you can, love them how they need it.
Otherwise, it is more about you, than about love.
I’m not sure what lopsided thing you have to choose, but believe you me,
a love filled celebration is better than a a merely photo op filled one.
And a Christ filled home is better than a see-my-perfect-life staged media page.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, to be wonderful.
Even lopsided love is beautiful.