Family

and let there be cake!

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Your Birthday Year Forecast:

“Your birthday falls shortly after a Full Moon this year, suggesting a period of communication and teaching. You may be turned to for advice more frequently, and you are very willing to offer your help. This is a strong year for publicity and any other endeavors that involve spreading the word. As well, your ability to be objective–or to see the “big picture”–can be especially rewarding this year.  This could be a good year for financial undertakings involving electronics, technology, the internet, metaphysics, and the arts, as well as group activities.” ~www.cafeastrology.com

As he entered the office I read the hubs’ astrological forecast for the year.  He refused to wear our birthday hat but relented in allowing me to  pin a button that says, “Happy Birthday To Me.”

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Why is it that most of my pictures are centered around birthday cakes?  LOL.

Thanks to Wikipedia I discovered the cake began in classic Roman culture to celebrate special days but more traditionally served during weddings in ancient Greece.  The single-layer, flat, leavened and honey sweetened cake rounds were created in bakeries in 17th century Germany; the multi-layered and decorated cakes only available to the privileged and wealthy.  My sister-in-law creates wonderful confections with elaborate designs but the hubs; true to his nature, preferred a simple, chocolate Devil’s food cake recipe from the Food Network’s Alton Brown.  And so, she pared down her pastry and culinary prowess for her younger brother to create the cake he desired as we celebrated the day before his birthday last evening.

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As the chill lingers in the ever-darkening days of autumn I ponder tradition.  Holiday season is just around the corner; the cultural foods and rituals marking the passage of time as we celebrate our history.  Lately it has become a common theme running through my thoughts and when I made the birthday banner for my teenaged son, last month, I appreciated that some of the pictures, year-after-year, never changed.  Besides our annual family picture at Christmastime; each member in our household always has a picture next to the innocuous birthday cake.

It seems silly, really, to have hundreds of pictures next to a cake.  But when chronologically viewed on a timeline; the cake tells many stories.  The cake decor showed what my children’s interests were at that time in their lives.  The people who surround us, seemingly constant, until  their missing presence tells a story of its own.  I, myself, do not enjoy celebrating my date of birth.  But I have come to realize the importance in the remembering and why it is so painful for me.  There are a few birthdays where the gifts were memorable.  But what I remember and miss the most is the sense of family; of being cherished, secure and celebrated as a child, even if just for a day.

I think of the friends who take stock of the things they’ve accumulated; presents and monetary value giving them worth.   To compensate for my sense of loss on my birthday my family has gone to great lengths to distract me with material items.  But these things can be empty; never nourishing the soul that only wants a space of its very own.  The simple card that remembers; a coffee date.  These gestures of friendship, relationship, feed the heart and affirm the mind.

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I caught myself in a shopping frenzy searching for something to give the hubs for today.  The youngest, along-for-the-ride, was having way too much fun.  But, outta the mouth of babes, he had to plaintively ask, “What does Daddy need?”  I had dragged him from one store to another, walking aimlessly and easily distracted.   Thus, we left with items his father would need, practical things for the every day.  I had been searching for the pie-in-the-sky, perfect gift when, really, shouldn’t I stick to the mantra I had recently discovered.  Keeping it simple.  Appreciating the gifts of an ordinary day?

My hubs is very good at focusing on what is important, as noted in his horoscope.  While I searched for gifts he was at home playing online with our other two sons; teaching them how to maneuver this new landscape of social networking that impacts our children’s future lives.   It is easy to turn a blind eye, to restrict access, but he tackles these issues head-on.  He takes an active interest in what they enjoy, monitors the surrounding environment and teaches our sons to block griefers and cyberbullies and to determine online prowlers and scammers.   It used to be that the hubs restricted our sons’ online gaming and from shooting games that appeared too realistic.  A skilled marksman, himself, he worried a Columbine shooter- in-the making would be borne.    But after reading various articles, books and posts we have since changed our stance.  Thus, after our shopping excursion the youngest and I returned to sounds of laughter and glee; the hubs and adolescents bonding.  The time with our older sons, without worrying about exposing the youngest to inappropriate content, was an unexpected  gift.  Cost.  Nothing.  Value.  Priceless.

And so he can have his cake and eat it too.

Unlike the English proverb, it seems that the gift of the hubs’ birthday is that he has both and understands this.  He would not trade anything for this time in his life right how; his family still under one roof; our health.  I’m sure he would like more wealth, LOL, but what really matters is this time we have right now.  Yesterday, our family was given a gift as well.  Inspired by our sons being altar servers he, the non-Catholic husband, has chosen to offer his services as a hospitality minister at our mass.   As I read that part of his horoscope, above, I was affirmed.  The little acts of service our sons do can impact others; notably their Dad.  And so he will take…” endeavors that involve spreading the Word.”  I had not taken the verbage so literal until I remembered our day, as a family, celebrating the hubs.    The boys were surprised but equally proud.

And let there be cake!

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