Tuesday, July 5, 2011
One of my dearest and nearest blogger friends ordered a wedding cake as a present for a friend of hers who was getting married at 10:00 AM on Independence Day (that was yesterday). I was thrilled and honored to make one, and we decided that a vanilla cake with strawberry cream cheese filling and frosting would be perfect. We also decided that the cake would be picked up late on Saturday night, after my blogger friend/client had finished an insanely busy day.
And that's what happened. I worked all day on the cake, happily, as the kids ran in and out of the house. I was immersed in it, the baking the stacking, the frosting and filling and cutting and careful planting of tiny yellow fondant flowers and daisies. I had extra batter and frosting and made a tiny cake for us. It came out just right, I thought. Not bad for the old girl.
My friend arrived at nearly 11:00 that night, and I had the pleasure of meeting not just her very handsome husband but her adorable daughter. My sons were enchanted by this little girl, despite the hour, and our two families just enjoyed each other's company for a few minutes before the cake was carefully handed to the husband who then placed it in the back of the minivan for their fairly long trip back home. My friend exclaimed that she wanted to hold the box in her lap but I told her no, it'll be fine in the back; it's too heavy to hold all that way! We hugged good-bye and I turned around and went back inside, happy that I was able to do this, grateful for the order, the money, the support.
Well, you know what's coming.
I received a very agitated email later that night from my friend, and I just about died. I, in fact, cried a little. We still don't know what happened. The cake literally slid apart. Was it bumped in the car? Should I have stabilized it better in the box? Should my friend have held it? Should I have filled it with something other than strawberry cream cheese? Should I kill myself?
From a professional standpoint, this is a freaking nightmare, and despite my generous friend's admonitions not to worry, that she'd think of something to do before the next morning's wedding and my own protestations that I'd get in the car in the morning and attempt to patch the cake before the wedding and her protests that no, that would be silly and it's not repairable anyway and my rising feelings of panic and feeling terrible for her and her assuring me that it was the story of her life and then finally we both went to bed.
I tossed and turned all night. I felt sick in the morning. I lost perspective and even my sense of humor which is generally dogged, to say the least.
Perspective. Yes, this post was supposed to be about perspective -- and my blogger friend pulled her perspective, seemingly out of a hat, and showed me, again, what it means. My blogger friend has a child with Down Syndrome. This child was also born with cancer, had infantile spasms and a stroke. She is now that enchanting four year old that my children and I fell in love with the night they came to pick up the cake.
I'm still struggling with the wrecked cake and my friend's generosity. Yes, it's a story that she'll tell over and over, I'm sure, and I'll show these photos and feel a cringe, a sense memory. And I'll try to have some perspective or remember perspective, that pinpoint of something walking away, sliding out of view.I just wish that it wasn't a sliding into the side of a box --