In many ways, my mom was the perfect mom. Like a character out of an unbelievable novel, she seemed to believe in everything we tried to do. She always encouraged us to express ourselves. She also fed us extremely well. In my family, food offerings were demonstrations of love and we were smothered in affection. Especially during special occasions like birthdays.
The customized Dairy Queen cake was an annual tradition for each one of us. With a picture drawn in frosting on top, there was an old car for me, a sport’s theme for Kelly and a musical instrument for Casey. The cake was usually the center of the event—the subject of discussion and lots of bad snapshots that would eventually wind up forgotten in a drawer somewhere.
I attended my nephew’s second birthday on Sunday. There was the usual pleasant gathering of family. Some coffee and tea. And then the cake was unveiled. Kids went nuts. Adults with high cholesterol disregarded their doctor’s orders. Teeth and tongues were stained with food coloring and everyone was happy. My sister-in-law made one hell of cake. A cake to keep the tradition going. Most important, a cake that presented a photo opportunity.