Last weekend Dylan turned nine and I did not make him a homemade cake. Whew! There, I said it. It came from Dairy Queen, okay? Someone else made it out of likely-dubious ingredients and frosted my son’s name into the top and the only way I contributed was by clicking some buttons on a web form and it was DELICIOUS.
In fact, I haven’t made a birthday cake in years. I used to — my go-to recipe was a no-pecan version of Pioneer Woman’s sheet cake — but somewhere along the line both my kids gravitated towards the process of paging through bakery design books and picking out exactly what they wanted, and frankly, I am thrilled that the cake part of their birthday celebration is now a relatively small problem I can throw money at. The evening before the big day, I may be knee-deep in incompatible decorating logistics (for instance, this year Dylan said he wanted a “theme” of his three very favorite things, which are currently Roald Dahl, basketball, and … Arnold Schwarzenegger) but I am by-god not fretting over whether or not I will screw up the cake.
Of course, I’ve pretty much just swapped Cake Anxiety for Cake Guilt, because even though my kids love their store confections some family member inevitably asks in front of the whole group if I made it myself which is like being forced into Cersei’s naked walk of atonement. “Well, no. (SHAME!) I mean, it IS in a Safeway box and features a professionally-rendered Oregon Ducks logo so it seems like that was a bit obvious. (SHAME!) But thanks for this opportunity to publicly confirm it’s made with high fructose corn syrup instead of a mother’s undying love! (Dingle ding ding SHAME!)”
Anyway, Dylan had a lovely birthday, DQ is the bomb, and there’s no denying it, these boys are growing up. Nine is awfully close to a full decade and Riley’s going to be in middle school (!) this fall and my gosh, it’s like every year the pages just go flipping by faster and faster and faster.