Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Cake Fight

I was 13 or 14 years old, when cool reserve sometimes begins to creep into the mother/daughter relationship, when peers become more than parents -- more fun, more relevant, more important. And yet, my mother continued to shape my world.

 I can see the birthday cake sitting on the avocado green formica kitchen counter. It was one of the large standard sheet cakes from the grocery store. It was getting old and crunchy. Somehow my mother started a cake fight. I don't know how or why, but whatever small move she made prompted my friend and I to forget we were cool teenagers and to go all out. She didn't stop us. She didn't reprimand the childish (and messy!) behavior. She did however send us outside.

When I think of the kind of mom I had growing up, this memory comes to mind. I don't even recall my mom being with us outside, but I know she started it. I remember running in our large front yard throwing and dodging pieces of cake. I can see my best friend's smile and hear her surprised and delighted laugh, for this was not the kind of behavior she was used to mothers engaging in.

Fun. Exuberant. That's what my mom was then and still is today.

A recent pic of my mom on vacation
I'm more buttoned-up. More prone to become exasperated by my children than to join in or even create some excitement. I have my moments, such as singing loudly to 80's tunes when they come on the radio. My own teen daughter, at exactly the same age I was then, acts embarrassed, but her friends react in the same way my friends did back then.

 I hope Amanda will remember the fun moments, which might or might not include a food fight. And perhaps one day she'll have a cake fight with her daughter's friends.


This essay was inspired by Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Please read my review today at 5 Minutes for Books, and also read Elizabeth's essay at 5 Minutes for Mom. If you leave a comment on that post, you can enter to win your own copy! (both will go live at midnight)


Kate Hopper said...

Lovely piece, Jennifer. This is a great reminder for me to be playful with my girls because I, too, want them to remember me like that. Thank you so much for the review and your beautiful response to a Use Your Words prompt!! I look forward to reading more of your wonderful writing!

Anonymous said...

oh this is a wonderful piece! i think i love your mom!!! it reminded me of a great memory of playing in the rain with my mom! also unexpected, and wonderfully spontaneous for fun! love this 5 minute! :) keep on are GREAT!

morninglight mama said...

Awesome, Jennifer. Great images here!! :)

Sue said...

What a great reminder to allow our inner child out. I struggle to play more than my husband does.

Livia said...

Your writing is so fun to read! I enjoy it :)