I’ve started watching Say Yes to the Dress as my Friday night guilty pleasure while I wait for my husband to come home. I am in awe of happy little families who all go dress shopping together, mother and daughter, hand in hand, tearing up at the sight of the perfect wedding gown. How lovely it must be to have such a close and loving relationship with a mother.
That is not my life.
My mother is not close or loving with anything other than her dogs, a fact to which she readily admits. My mother’s family is coming into town and it just so happens they will be here near her birthday. Her cousin wanted to get a cake and since they are not local, I told him I would do the honors. When given the choice of birthday cakes at a local (high-end) grocery store, my mother flat out refused to go pick one out (I was buying), as said store was 20 minutes out of her way and she’d get stuck in rush hour traffic. My mother gets out of work at 2pm. Unless she milked the cows, churned the butter, grew the cacao trees, and went to pastry school while at the store, she could reasonably be home by, say, 3pm. Which, considering she lives an hour outside of the nearest city, would get her well out of harm’s way of traffic. But no. So, her second and more devious plan to thwart me from celebrating her birthday is to create a cake out of thin air, claim it is her favorite, and demand it as the only choice for dessert.
Now, though I desperately tried to get away from this madwoman as soon as humanly possible, I was probably home for most of her birthdays up to and throughout college. So, assuming we are only counting those celebrated in NY, and those I am old enough to remember, I should have eaten this cake at least two dozen times. That would be a cake I’d remember. And yet, I don’t. And I like my cake. So either she is making it up from scratch or she had it once, at some random baby shower or birthday party and conjured it from memory just for the fun of sending me on a wild goose chase.
I will admit that birthdays were not big occasions in my family. They were usually ignored, forgotten, or celebrated in tandem with another event. Now I make sure to make a big as celebration as possible for my own family and once dragged my poor, exhausted husband out for his birthday dinner after a week of hellacious travel just so he could blow out a little tiny candle at his favorite restaurant. But growing up, this was not the case. So I don’t understand why, when given a chance to properly celebrate with people who don’t see her enough to dislike her, she is being so incredibly annoying.
Truth to tell, my mother has always been difficult. I could fill a dozen blogs with stories about her random clothing choices, her rude behavior, and how she tried to humiliate me at my own wedding. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this sentence, “I have never said this to anyone before, but your mother is crazy,” I would be the one telling D-list celebrities that they are fired. I have heard this from coworkers, from groomsmen, from relatives, and from hairdressers. To know her is to have a story about an ill-timed, ill-judged, and ill-mannered comment made by her. She has burned more bridges than Alexander and Napoleon combined. She is impossible. She is obnoxious, and she and my husband absolutely and completely ignore one another.
Many well-meaning friends have offered me recipes and support for making the cake myself. Rather than call every baker in the area, it probably will be easier to attempt my own version. It will make me look like a good and dutiful daughter and she’ll have to act like a thankful and loving mother. Neither of us will feel that way, but will certainly act it. And if she doesn’t eat the cake, I’ll feed it to her dogs. I’ve heard they just LOVE chocolate.