The Most Lovely Gross Cake

Our anniversary cake made by Amelia.

This past Thursday my husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. In honor of the celebration, my seven year old daughter wanted to bake a cake for us. A kind gesture on her part led us to celebrating with the most lovely gross cake I’ve ever eaten.

I wasn’t planning on baking a cake so I didn’t really have anything on hand. I found a random tub of cream cheese frosting and a box of French vanilla cake mix. Not the tastiest combo, let me assure you. I knew we had sprinkles, as my young children like to put sprinkles on everything they eat. Because they are young children, I think this idea is divine. Life should involve more sprinkles.

So my seven year old took over the kitchen to mix and bake the cake. I helped pull apart the eggs and put the cake in the oven. She was so excited. I suggested that we should call my husband to pick up a different flavor of frosting, but she would hear none of it. I smiled weakly and we waited for the cake to bake.

After dinner Amelia and I frosted the cake. She was dancing on the step stool in anticipation…..and then came the sprinkles. She said she could do it by herself, a popular theme these days. I stepped out of the room to help her brother with something and returned to find the cake covered in sprinkles. I mean the center of the cake was indented from the weight of the sprinkles. Amelia applied what I’m guessing was one pound for each year we’ve been married.

I told her the cake looked lovely.

We set the table, put in nine candles (it is not a party at the Wardy’s unless there is fire….long story but luckily no one went up in flames like last time) and sat down to enjoy dessert.

It was the grossest cake I’ve ever had.

My husband and I took several gulps of our milk and avoided eye contact so as not to burst into laughter. The sweet of the French vanilla cake with the sour of the cream cheese frosting and the fruity of the sprinkles was a lot to take in. We tried to be very sincere in our eating and enjoying of the cake. Amelia and Benny were in refined sugar heaven.

It was the most lovely gross cake I have ever had. My loving husband was sitting next to me, my beautiful children across the table from us. The table still showed splats of sauce from the spaghetti dinner we had just eaten, during which the kids made up songs about noodles. The vase sitting next to the cake platter held a dozen long stem roses my husband had surprised me with the night before, along with a love note written in Hershey kisses on the table. The table is the first nice piece of furniture we ever purchased, so of course it holds carvings of the children’s names and Outlet Man. The chip you see in the red plate is a souvenir from a dinner with friends from South Africa, the plate dropped in a fit of laughter during a tale of being bitten by a hippo. Being bitten by a hippo isn’t funny unless you know my friend Andrew and hear his story. His scar is awesome.

So while I ate my lovely gross cake I thought about how rich my life is, chipped plates and all. I thought about how I spent time talking about rampant sexism in the media and the scourge of eating disorders and bullying and violence against women during my work week. I thought about how my children see my husband and I love each other well and have never seen violence in our home. I thought about how they see my husband respect me and how they see me stand up to sexism every. single. time. because females have worth and my kids will grow up knowing that. I thought about what wonderful schools they go to and what a great group of bully-free kids we have around us. I thought about them being raised with a mom who has a healthy body image and doesn’t turn down dessert, even a gross piece of cake. And I thought about being thankful that I’ve never had my leg bitten in half by a hippo. I thought about all people deserving of the right to marry whom they love.

Life can be crazy and sometimes it is evening exhausting, but I recognize the value in enjoying a piece of lovely gross cake surrounded by the people I love most in this world.