A birthday to remember forever. That’s what this birthday was about, remembering. We had a small birthday celebration during a recent visit from our oldest daughter, son-in-law and two of our six grandchildren. This birthday was different. It wasn’t bad different. It wasn’t any of THE birthdays such as a 30th, 40th, or 50th and older.
David and Samantha wanted to bake the cake for the party. Making certain all of the ingredients were in-house, including the cake decorations, I was quite certain this would be a special birthday cake. A cake to remember for years to come.
My helpers were thrilled to find all of our cake baking, cake decorating items from the pantry. This also required David practicing his skills of reaching high up on the shelves with my extension grabber.
Being the smallest, David needed some help reaching the countertop. This step ladder remained just where it was once placed for David for the entire weekend. “Just in case,” he would tell me. Samantha, being the older of the two and taller, too, was satisfied sitting on her knees on the kitchen chair.
It wasn’t long and five-year old Samantha had instructed me from the recipe on the back of the box on what ingredients we needed and when to add them to the bowl. Meticulously, I did exactly as she said. The cake mix was split between she and David since they both wanted to add the mix. After which they both proceeded to tell me, “We need spoons Mamaw,” Samantha said. Oh, of course they did, I thought. Handing them each large mixing spoons, she shook her head and said, “Not those Mamaw. Regular cereal spoons so we can have a spoonful of the mix.” Ah ha! So that was the deal. This part of the recipe, was new to me. Obviously, I gladly obliged.
And, then it began. The stirring of the cake mix. One, maybe two swirls around the bowl with their spoons aaaaannd, “It’s dripping! I have to eat it,” was being echoed throughout the kitchen. Yes, this was a special cake.
I wasn’t sure how much we would have left of the batter to make a cake. So, it was best that I break up this delicacy of fun. “But my spoon is still dripping! Yeah, mine too!,” they each stated after making yet another swirl around the bowl. Okay, it was time to get the show on the road before we had a very thin cake for the birthday celebration.
As I completed the mixing process with the hand mixer, David watched intently. I had an inkling as to what was coming next.
Yep, you guessed it. David shouted “beaters” first. Therefore, he got the pick of the two. Nearly placing the entire beater inside his tiny mouth, he quickly finished the beater.
Meanwhile, Samantha decided it would be more fun to let me finish the cake and put it in the oven.
She settled at the kitchen table with one of the activity books and crayons I purchased for them and began working diligently sacrificing her beater.
David was very happy to take it for her and clean off all the batter.
After pouring the remaining cake batter into the pan, my next offer was “Who wants to lick the bowl?” Guess who had already begun the process.
Samantha had given up the activity book and crayons for the party blowers.
After hearing David scrape the bowl time and again, I suggested he literally lick the bowl. He smiled brightly and did just that. Sticking his head into the bowl, or rather placing the bowl over his entire face and head, he licked the bowl.
Our next preparation was the piñata. Mickey was filled to the brim with candy and ready to be popped open underneath the palm tree in my garden. “Oh, this is going to be fun,” Samantha exclaimed. “Yeah! What do we do with it?, asked David. Trying not to let the delightful innocence of the moment come out of me in the form of a laugh, I let Samantha try to explain the process to David.
Of course, being the analytical little boy David quickly asked, “What are we going to hit Mickey with?” His voice so sweet and caring, I let him go to the garage with me to help me decide what tool would be best. We decided on the small push broom.
Making sure we had everything we needed, I heard the bang! on the floor as the broom fell over. “It was just standing there and it fell over,” David quickly explained. I reassured him all was fine and nothing was harmed. Samantha, not even flinching from the fall of the broom, too busy talking to Mickey, was figuring out how we were going to hang him from the tree. It was then I wondered if hanging Mickey from a palm tree in Orlando was such a great idea. Hoping this wouldn’t scar the grandkids too badly, we decided to have some fun while the cake was baking in the oven.
We went upstairs where the window seats make for some wonderful lighting opportunities when taking photos. Yes, even silly photos.
Without any direction, this was the result of letting kids be kids and me taking it all in and freezing these wonderful moments in time.
I let them set the stage. Do what you want to do and just be who you are. I’ll snap when I feel like snapping is all I told them. Samantha was sitting in the window seat in this lovely light and SNAP! I loved the seriousness and innocence she displayed so naturally.
I looked for David, as it was suddenly quiet in the other room where there are two more window seats. This is what I saw when I took a peek into the room. Perfect, I thought to myself.
Being quite satisfied with just these few images, I turned to see this precious moment of big sister and little brother having a discussion. It was a calm, sensitive, sweet conversation. Thinking to myself, “These two are going to be so close as they grow older.” Heck they already are close, correcting myself. Such a sweet and caring look on Samantha’s face while David was talking made me realize just how wonderful and lucky they are to have such amazing parents. Suddenly, my attention went straight to our oldest daughter and son-in-law. Grateful, proud and full of nothing but love, I sat and listened pretending to fiddle with my camera.
Turning around, I see this. Oh my heavens, I thought. “Quick, Lynn! Take the darned picture, would you!,” snarling at myself for not being ready. But, I really didn’t want to ruin the conversation they were so sweetly having. SNAP! Just as their giggles let out while head to head. The result? Priceless.
Rolling around in the oversized bean bag couch before heading back downstairs to check on the cake, I couldn’t help but grab a photo of these summer bare feet shining in the glorious light pouring through the dormer windows.
David was the last one down, as he didn’t want to stop playing upstairs. However, it was going to be time to let the cake cool and then decorate it soon.
While the cake was cooling, David decided to show Deuce how to do a somersault.
Samantha, on the other hand, decided to go swim in the pool. What a fish she had become since the last time she was here.
She was brave, swimming the length of the pool without floats, going underwater with her goggles and smiling the entire time.
David decided he wanted to join in the pool fun and show off his new jumping moves. Impressive, I must say. The toes were even pointed.
The cake was still cooling, dinner was ordered – time for the piñata! David preferred to play with the chimes and Samantha took to whacking Mickey in the face. After several rounds, mommy and daddy came to hit it adult-style to open it up a bit. Next whack, and out flowed the candy! “Eat some candy, then let’s decorate the cake,” I said to the kids.
So the cake is decorated by the best cake bakers, cake batter eaters, ever. And Papaw was surprised to see that 26 is the new 62! Grandkids are awesome! They keep things real. They also keep grandparents laughing and pleased as punch to spoil them with love. Their efforts and willingness to help make a Papaw’s birthday party a very special one this weekend was icing on the cake. For the record, this was also his last week of work before he retired the following Friday.
Grandchildren are the lifeline for many grandparents. I know for these two grandparents, our six grandchildren mean the world to us and we plan on getting together more often now that we are retired.
Side note: I have come to realize that grandchildren give me a reality check on life. Unknowingly, children, especially grandchildren (because when you’re the actual parent you’re too busy to realize or notice most of the time), show me what life is really about. It’s unconditional love, exploration, letting go, letting be, and the need of family. (Oh, and giggling while dancing in the window seat with light splashing through the corners of the shutters.)