Because it's hard to talk about your very own failures, I dreaded putting up this post.
We did a few things right when it came to remembering Quinn on her special day. We took the kids to Bass Pro, where they shoved quarters into the shooting range rifles, and I bought my first ever cast-iron skillet, an essential item in every southern cook's kitchen. We let the kids pick Chik-fil-A over the Mellow Mushroom. Apparently it's hard for my children to choose the unknown when the familiar is an option, even when the chicken is too spicy and the other kids in the play area are too loud.
Then we sped home for butterfly cake.
The cake. Helen had been imagining a butterfly cake for Quinn for months in advance. I agreed, remembering a cute cut-up cake my mom made for me when I was five. Helen helped me bake it. Helen also dresses herself.I tinted the frosting orange, a color I had fallen in love with while I was pregnant with Quinn. It got a little garish. We decorated the butterfly with bits and pieces of found candy. It got a little tacky. I stuck on Fruit-by-the-Foot antennae. They got a little droopy.When we finally arrived home, past bedtime, for butterfly cake, the anticipation of the moment had long since peaked, but Jason and I were determined to make this celebration happen. We lit the one candle and wanted all three kids to blow it out.
The mood started to change the moment we pulled out the camera.
And it just got worse with each picture.
Jason had to remove the sweet, sobbing daughter from the scene, help her into her jammies and tuck her into bed for the night. The boys ate their pieces of cake, and I choked one down. It was sickeningly sweet to me. I could hardly chew and swallow, it just felt so wrong.
So many times, my kids bring me back to reality. Are my dreams for them cleverly disguised dreams for me or my image? My wishes for perfect, glittery children frequently get interrupted by improperly extracted boogers, learning hurdles, embarrassing public behavior and bad attitudes. (And while some behaviors obviously need to be curbed and others eliminated, we can't tamper with basic personalities and talents. For example, we can tell Owen that he absolutely must stop playing air guitar on the soccer field, but we cannot make him cease to love music or turn him into the star athlete on the team. We can tell Jack that he absolutely has to tell us before he tries to go stinky at church, and that he may not walk around with his pants around his ankles in the lobby, but we cannot change his independent, confident outlook.)
I had really built up this moment in my mind. This cake that I thought would be the perfect way to remember what would have been Quinn's first birthday was a disaster, and in hindsight, more about me than about what our family needed. Forced moments. Can't we all recall those from our own childhoods? Yuck.