Over the past two years, I skipped a lot of birthday cakes. I was on Medifast for the majority of that time, and cake has no place. So many times I made cakes and frosting from scratch for my family without even so much as a lick of batter or taste of frosting. There was something a little sad for me about watching my birthday kid eat their cake and not eating it with them; I did it, and it was no big deal, but it was slightly reminiscent of my childhood, watching others celebrate while I don't. And hey, it's MY kid's birthday so it is a birthday of sorts for me, too: the day I became their mother. The day I went though childbirth to bring that little human into the world. And no, I don't think one *must* eat cake (or any other food) to celebrate, but truth be told they are traditions we've embraced, much like turkey on Thanksgiving. There is just something happy, for me, about fixing up a special birthday cake with candles and singing to my kid every year. I love it. And sitting around having cake and ice cream is a nice little part of that day for us.
This time, I had cake. I had a small slice and it was good. Funny thing... when one of my kids was a baby I made up this cake recipe by trial and error, tweaking and blending several other cake recipes until I got the 'perfect' one. And we haven't had this particular cake in years. Somehow in my mind this cake had become THE BEST CAKE EVER!! It was fantastic, amazing, transcendental. After all, when I brought it to parties, people raved and asked for the recipe. And so I was delighted to make it for the birthday boy this week. And even more delighted that I'd planned to have a slice.
But you know what? It wasn't as awesome as I remembered it. I mean, it was very good, but maybe my taste buds have changed even more than I thought. I have always assumed I will ALWAYS want cake, cookies, pies, candy. It has been one of those foods I long for, and after I have some I want more. But this cake, this great cake, was just... cake. It didn't send me spiraling out of control. I didn't WANT another piece. In fact, half a cake is sitting in the kitchen *right now* and I don't want any of it. I don't care about it. If I get hungry I'll have a yogurt. No biggie. But it IS big that my tastes... my mind... has changed about this.
This is what I dreamed about: being *able* to sit down with family and have that one slice of birthday cake without being triggered into eating more. I just wanted to be normal. And in this same week, at a friend's birthday party, I *turned down* cake even though there were food pushers. It looked good and had cream filling and I thought I'd like it, but it wasn't special like my son's cake would be. It was a store bought cake, I didn't really want any. I said no thank you as many times as it took. And I did not miss it or regret it and I was able to still enjoy a piece of my own son's birthday cake on another day. THAT is the normal I have been seeking: saying yes if I want to, no if I don't, staying balanced and in control and being happy either way.
Friday Update and Reality Check
1 day ago