Monday, July 16, 2012

Ugly Birthday Cake

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24


~ It was the ugliest birthday cake I had ever seen.  It was not at all what I had envisioned for my son’s first birthday cake, especially after all that I went through to get him.  I struggled with infertility for four years (that full story will come in a future blog), and when I finally was blessed with my son, Benjamin, it was a miracle!  Everything about being pregnant with him was special.  From the time he was born, every moment with him was special.  I treasured everything he did; everything he said; every smile he gave me, so I naturally wanted his first birthday to be so incredibly special too.  The theme for his party was easy---basketballs.  He loved all balls—especially basketballs, so we got him some basketball plates with matching napkins and cups.  We even got him a basketball balloon.  Obviously, we wanted the cake to match the basketball theme as well, so when we ordered it, we told the lady that it was for a one year old birthday party and that the birthday theme was basketballs.  We figured that was all we needed to explain and didn’t give it another thought.
 Getting everything ready for Ben’s party was so emotional.  First of all, I couldn’t believe that my boy was already turning one.  Plus, my husband and I kept getting teary-eyed recapping all that we had gone through to get him, and we were excited to celebrate this amazing day with our family.  On the day of the party, and with my checklist in hand, I wanted to make sure that we had everything ready.  We couldn’t wait to have our family over; we couldn’t wait to sing “Happy Birthday” to our boy; we couldn’t wait to see his face when he got to blow out a candle; we couldn’t wait for him to eat cake for the first time; we couldn’t wait for him to open presents.  So, here we go…food…check…drinks…check…basketball plates…check…basketball napkins…check…basketball balloon…check…presents…check…party favors…check…#1 candle…check…all we needed now was to go pick up the cake.  My husband walked in the door with the cake and I couldn’t wait to see it!  In my mind, I had pictured it with baby blue icing and a big basketball on it, but when I opened up the cake box and saw it, I thought it was a joke.  My husband rarely plays jokes on me because he knows how much I hate them, but this HAD to be a joke!  It wasn’t!  This was the cake.  It was hideous!  I was crushed.  I was angry.  I was so frustrated.  I couldn’t believe that this was my boy’s special birthday cake.  I couldn’t believe that we paid for this thing!  Brad tried to cheer me up by telling me that we got another cake for free.  It was the smash cake just for Ben that was actually kind of cute, but it wasn’t cute enough to take away the fact that they made us the ugliest cake I had ever seen!!!  Seriously, who makes a birthday cake for a one year old with red and yellow icing?  From what year were those plastic basketball players—the 70s?  Why was the basketball court so crooked?  Why was some of the icing missing?  (Seriously, take a minute to examine this cake in the picture. Really look at it.)  I was furious!  At that point, we didn’t have time to get another cake nor did we want to spend the money.
The ugliest cake in the world!
~I had 2 choices:  I could have let that stupid, ugly cake ruin my entire day.  I could have called the lady who made the cake and yelled at her.  I could have been so upset by it or I could have just laughed about it (like I'm still laughing now), and realize that it was just a cake. Why would I choose to let flour, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla have control over me?  Even though it was disappointing not to have a cute little boy birthday cake, it didn’t really matter.  In the grand scheme of life, that cake was trying to take away the main point of the day: being grateful!  Being grateful for my boy turning one; being grateful that I was a mom; being grateful that we were so blessed to have family who loved us and wanted to be a part of Ben’s day.  When I looked at the day with an attitude of gratefulness, the cake didn’t matter at all.  In fact, as ugly as it was, that cake actually turned out to be quite delicious! 
Ben's Smash Cake--the other cake didn't even matter.

~In life, nothing ever seems to go exactly as we plan.  We can make lists.  We can prepare all we want, but when it comes right down to it, we have to realize that not everything will go perfectly.  And that’s ok.  We cannot control every circumstance; we cannot control everything that comes our way; and we definitely cannot control how ugly someone can make a cake look, but what we can control is our attitude.  I am so thankful that God changed my attitude that day.  Thank you, God, for giving me laughter instead of anger.  I am so thankful that God opened my eyes and helped me to see what my focus needed to be.  As we prepare for Ben’s 4th birthday this weekend, we still laugh about that ugly cake.  It became a funny memory for us, and because we didn’t let it ruin our day, it actually made his 1st birthday even more memorable!
~This week, I pray over all of our attitudes.  I pray that no matter what happens, we can all have the “attitude of gratitude”.  I pray that no matter how many ugly cakes come our way, that we can find humor in each of them and that we may also find that those ugly cakes may not taste so bad.
Happy 4th Birthday, Benjamin (on Saturday, 7/21)!  Mommy and daddy love you so much.  We are so thankful for you.  Mommy will be making you cupcakes again this year as I've done every year since.  :-)



  1. Great post! I had a cake fiasco at my wedding, so I can totally relate. But I will agree. . .that is one ugly cake! Haha :)

    Happy early birthday Ben!!