Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nothing says "neighbor" like cake

Today, I had the good fortune of having a long phone conversation with my mother. She has been very sick lately and in a lot of pain. The last time I'd called, she was in too much pain to talk on the phone. So I was happy today that we got to have a nice long chat. Even more so that hubby watched the kids so I could talk with her without interruption.

We ended up talking for a little over an hour. She told me about how my niece, Laurie, hadn't had a birthday cake for her birthday. She'd turned 6 on the 12th, and my mom had been too sick to get out of bed to make Laurie a birthday cake. She said something had happened at my brother's work on that day, and he couldn't get away to buy her a cake. My mom said Laurie'd been asking about it, and I could imagine so. When you're 6, it's a big deal to have a birthday cake for your birthday! Heck, I went out and bought my own cake for my birthday this year. I just have a thing about there being a birthday cake, or even a cupcake, for a birthday. So I was feeling upset about that.

I love my niece dearly. I hadn't seen her since she was an infant (and she is, in fact, the one niece I took in and cared for for a period of time when my brother and his wife were having problems). So I was not happy about this, but of course I did not make it an issue with my mother. She said she felt bad enough about it. They were going to try again to finally give Laurie her birthday cake.

Still, this bugged me. So I went into the kitchen with a decision: I would do for Laurie what I have done for other people in the family when it's their birthday and I can't be there to celebrate it with them. I decided I would bake a cake just for her.

Of course, I knew I couldn't send it to her. But, really, what I do is, I get a cake, or even cupcakes, and we say "happy birthday, Nathan!" or "happy birthday, Allison!" and we enjoy a "birthday" cake in honor of their birthday.

This evening, after dinner, we said "happy birthday, Laurie!" when we had our cake. (I know, it's 6 days late. I haven't done this kinda thing very often but maybe I should start doing that for everyone.)

But before we could even have our cake and eat it, too, we had company. Two of Jennifer's friends came over to play with her. I started making the cake while they played and it soon spread that I was making cake. Next thing I know, Jennifer comes in asking if her friend can stay for dinner, knowing cake would be for dessert. I said sure, but I had to smile over the whole thing. I smiled even more when the boy's uncle came over to meet us, thanked us for having him for dinner, and asked if we could send leftover cake home. I said no problem, there's going to be a lot, anyway. (And here I was, worrying over making a large cake that would VERY LIKELY go to waste since there are only 4 of us in the house and we don't eat much cake.) It made me think of this story scene I've been carrying around in my head. About two gangsters who only show up for a meeting just because they knew there would be cake.

The cake was pretty good and I was happy to have that for my niece. I only wished she had been able to have one for herself, too. I just hope that they will come through for her and do that. But if not, I will have one delivered to her!

And it was good to meet the friend's aunt and uncle, as well. (Met the aunt when we walked the boy home with plates of cake.) Always good to meet more neighbors. Now I think if I want to meet even more of my neighbors, all I need do is whip up another cake and make sure they all know about it.

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