Lessons Learned

Not Accepting No – The Chocolate Cake Challenge

2 chocolate cakes

Ahhhh birthday’s  – they come and go, met with anticipation and expectation at every stage of your life. You dream to be older, baffled by where the time has gone and saddened by the runaway train which is life. Holiday traditions are special, habitual and cursed when broken………..

…..The Chocolate Cake Challenge.

Each year, on our birthday’s we have a Family Birthday Dinner. Those have changed and morphed over the years but the premise is the same. The birthday owner gets to pick the dinner and dessert. I typically host these events, my house is a little larger, I have the most family members, and for what seems to be a pattern, have cooked the majority of the meal. This year my Mother asked me what I wanted for my “birthday meal” and cake. Since she doesn’t cook that much anymore I tried to recall something simple for her to prepare and decided to order my cake.

“How about that delicious enchilada casserole you make?”……….silence

“I make an enchilada casserole?”

“Nevermind, how about just coming over and I will cook out Mom and don’t worry about the cake…….I just want you to order one from the bakery – I love their chocolate cake”…………silence

Offended by the shear idea that I would order a cake vs commission her to bake the pinnacle of the party – the birthday cake…..she not only made me call and place the order and pick it up but proceeded to drop the bomb in most of the conversations leading up to the event.

When she arrived at the party she let me know that she took this chocolate cake challenge seriously! …..”Mother – there was NO chocolate cake challenge????”

“Well there WAS for ME!” She unveiled her 4 layer, chocolate cake, with raspberry mousse, chocolate butter cream frosting, dark chocolate drizzle with fresh raspberries. It sat on the counter next to my bakery cake waiting to WIN.

As I reflected on last night’s birthday festivities (still giggling this morning), I’m reminded that my Mother has never accepted the word NO. Her entire life has been filled with tenacity, shear will, strength and perseverance. I can recall so many obstacles she faced being a single mother and how she strategically overcame each and every one of them. Her family came first and to give them what she did, she reinvented herself more than once. In each phase she adapted and created an opportunity where there was no obvious choice. She didn’t stay stuck….she marked it in history and then moved on and made something happen.

I paused this morning to thank her….for instilling some of those same values in me. For giving me that sense of wonderment that anything is possible with some creative thinking and hard work. I love her abrasive yet loving need to be heard. She is a joy and a mentor to us all.

We all took the blind Chocolate Cake Challenge on my birthday…….and Barb’s quadruple layer of delicious goodness….WON!

2 thoughts on “Not Accepting No – The Chocolate Cake Challenge

  1. Kendall, Thanks for sharing this story and your perspective on your mom’s influence in your life. Like you, I am fortunate to have a mom I am olose to (physically and emotionally) and greatly admire!

  2. Awww…. She sounds so sweet and like she’s a strong lady too. Gosh…. I love my mom. Moms are the best, aren’t they? Thanks for sharing and happy birthday!!

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