Eat the Cake

I like cake.

Scratch that.

I love cake.

The first few weeks after Hope was placed with me, I made what I called my weekly stress cake. It resulted in what I now like to call my “adoption weight” that I’m still carrying around.

hellnah

via Giphy

Making a simple white cake with chocolate buttercream frosting is something that happens with some level of regularity around these parts. I get it from my mom. She also loves to cook and bake. I can go to her house on any given day, having driven 100 miles, and find cake. It might be leftover cake, typically, I’m going to find cake.

I love cake.

Cake isn’t one of Hope’s favorite things. I can probably count on one hand how many times she has expressed any interest in having some cake I baked. Even when we get to my mom’s house, she’s uninterested in the baked goods, typically bonding with my dad over Popsicles. Cakes aren’t Hope’s thing.

But cake is totally my thing.

So, during our great family visit of #springbreak17, Hope’s grandmother started asking me about cooking and baking. My cake fetish came up. She laughed heartily as Hope and I described my love of cake and particularly homemade white cake with buttercream frosting. She chuckled and began to describe her baking process.

Now, no disrespect, but my granny, my momma and me…we don’t do cake mixes. I bought a cake cookbook one time and found when I got home that it was a cookbook dedicated to fixing up cake mixes. Um. No. The book was returned.

Not only is cake my thing, but I am an unapologetic cake snob.

As a part of her baking process, Grandma Hope talked about how she jazzed up her cake mix, and I smiled broadly and politely, delighted in the story. I’m sure it’s good; it may even be great….but um…cake mix? #thatscute #cakesnob

So, the next day when we went over for our last visit, Grandma Hope presented us with a heart shaped chocolate cake. It was the sweetest thing. So very sweet. She even put it on a real plate that we were to take with us back home.

So, we make our way to our next major travel stop, cake in tow. Despite my snobbery, I looked forward to having a nice piece of cake as we settled into our hotel that evening. I even had my wine in a can. It was fittin’ to be a good night.

Having cake is soothing to me; it’s not just my sweet tooth, it’s one of my favorite comfort foods. So, a cake, including cake mix cakes, made with love is going to hit my emo spot every time. This cake was going to allow me to get lit after several days of maintaining my emotions in a vice grip.

That is until Hope started making rumblings about *her* cake and how preemptively annoyed she was that I intended on taking a *big* piece of cake.

Wha? Hmmmm. Interesting. Ok.

Sister K ran an errand to get some things including some paper plates and plastic forks because I was getting some cake that night and needed something to put the cake on. Hope accompanied her and encouraged the purchase of small plates so as to limit the size of my anticipated cake debauchery. Sister K got an earful about the cake situation.

hellnah

via Giphy

By the time Hope and I checked into our room and settled in, my taste for cake had been soured by Hope’s anxiety about me cutting into the cake her grandma made for “her.” Never mind that she doesn’t even LIKE cake.

I called my mother and explained the situation. We marveled at how a proper Southern granny didn’t make scratch cakes! Yes, we were petty and judgy. I really wanted cake but SWORE that I would not touch Grandma Hope’s cake. I reasoned that I ain’t want her old box cake anyway.

After the family lovefest of the previous view days and the grace and southern charm required of me, I was saltier than a salt lick about not having cake–even a box cake! It brought out my petty and I confided in my Add Water co-host and good pal Mimi–who enjoyed a good chuckle at my cake related emotional shenanigans.

Despite my pettiness, I understood that Hope saw this as a very special gift from Grandma Hope. I intellectually understood that she had to play out this possessiveness, especially after how welcoming her family had become of me. This was an opportunity for her to have something from this visit all to herself. Oh, I get it, but I also knew that Grandma Hope made that cake largely for me because HOPE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE CAKE and she told her grandma so.

But whatevs. <Cue more laughs from Mimi.>

So I’m talking to my mom about this cake situation, and I ask her to make me a cake. Oh, yeah, I did. Dueling cakes. I had held my petty in check for 4 days…that might be a record. Ha! She said of course she would make me a cake because my momma loves her big petty, cake-loving kid. We debated the finer points of cakes made from scratch, milk vs. dark chocolate powder and marble cakes, because I come by my pettiness honestly.

I licked my lips in anticipation.

In the meantime, I hit the grocery store for a bit of commercially made cake to tide me over. I ate it alone and disposed of the container so Hope didn’t know. I might be petty, but I do have some semblance of couth that was still hanging on for dear life.

20170411_133605

I soon lost it though, and my petty was on full display by the time we arrived at my parent’s house a day or so later. I kissed my daddy hello, chatted about the lawn for a minute; walked into a house, grabbed a saucer and a knife and proceeded to cut myself a nice slice of homemade, lemon buttercream frosted white cake.

20170412_130352

It was delicious. And it was like a big emotionally satisfying sigh: Ahhhhhh.

Hope watched, and said, “You’re just going to eat that cake?”

Me, mouth full: “Yup. My mom’s cake.” #becausepetty

My mom commented that she could still make me a chocolate cake if I wanted. I declined. Got a plate of mac and cheese, a turkey wing and another piece of lemon cake. And all was well with my soul.

Hope got a Popsicle with her grandpa.

We are home now. Grandma Hope’s cake has traveled about 600 miles in a warm car and is 5 days old and counting. It is still wrapped in plastic and still uncut. I’m guessing it’s not going to get cut either, because cake isn’t Hope’s thing; it’s just not. I know there is going to be hell to pay when I have to dispose of the cake; it’s unfortunate. I really did look forward to having a piece of love on a plate.

I really do intellectually get why there was cake drama, but I also know that there was something about shaming me into not eating it that doesn’t make Hope happy. She wanted to protect the cake, but she is shocked that I haven’t touched it. I’m not sure she knows what’s behind the cake thing. I know that she doesn’t understand my own emotional connection to the cake. It will probably be many moons and a lot of therapy before she gets that connection.

I wish we had been able to enjoy the cake together. When Hope finally cut into her cake, she did offer me some. I wish I could’ve said yes, but I really wanted no part of the cake. My feelings, sadly, just were too much for me to even take one gracious bite. I’m tired and have been on my relative best behavior for a week. I did not want any of that cake.

Of course she dropped the first piece on the floor, which the deeply petty part of me took as a sign that sometimes the universe is petty and reactive.

I made myself some brownies instead.

Another time and another cake.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2016. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

13 responses to “Eat the Cake

  • Lizzie

    Cake-lovers solidarity! Every year for my birthday, my mom makes me a cake from scratch, even though I’m a grown woman and can make my own birthday cake. Her food just tastes better. And even though I no longer eat the entire cake myself, as I used to do gleefully, I wield ultimate power over it until every crumb is gone. My husband knows better than to ask for a single bite; I’ll mete it out to him like a merciful patron as I see fit. Because it’s MY CAKE. (*beats chest and roars like Godzilla*)

  • thecollectivesystem

    I felt disappointed for you throughout this story. I wish Hope would have sliced you off a great big piece of that love cake. I’m glad your mom made you one.

  • thecollectivesystem

    p.s. I love the way you write. Ever think of publishing a book?

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Aww, thanks! 🙂 I have a couple of academic books–clearly a different sort of writing. 🙂 I’m hopeful that perhaps one day, publishers will embrace POCs who write about adoption–they don’t seem to be so keen on it at the moment.

  • Beth H

    After all that, I wouldn’t have eaten the cake either. And I’m *not* especially petty. That’s just too insulting to give her the satisfaction of feeling “generous” after her previous jealousy-driven possessiveness. Sorry not sorry.

    But it’s super clear what’s behind her behavior. Good on you for recognizing it. Good on you for trying not to take it personally. And good on you for getting your cake needs met elsewhere.

    Scratch cake is the best. Box mix is for kids. And icing? Better be from scratch, either buttercream or cream cheese. Don’t get me started on that waxy, chemical-tasting crap that passes for frosting out of a canister.

  • Anka

    Oh man. We’ve had some birth-parent leftover drama before. Son and I went to birth dad’s house, where he gave us a lesson in cooking Puerto Rican rice and empanadas. My husband couldn’t come on the visit, and birth dad boxed up a portion of what we’d cooked for Son, and a portion for Husband. Son was SO UPSET by the whole thing – that his dad would send food for his other dad, and not only for him. I knew there were touchy feelings involved, so I put it all in the fridge at home intending to tell my husband to be sure to offer Son some of his food as well. Husband came home late, and I’d already gone to bed, and he ate the food…before I could warn him that it was Emotionally Charged Food! Sigh.

  • Caitlin

    Oh my gosh I love this whole post so much. So honest, and hilarious, and also heartbreaking. It definitely deserves to be published. Either on its own or as part of a memoir. Fingers crossed.

    Tangentially favorite part: wine in a can on the hotel bed. That is so my style.

  • Brooke Hart

    I love your honesty. I recently explained to my son that no matter how old you get that you are never to old to get your feelings hurt . Rejection never feels good. Maybe someday that sweet child will ” get it ” . Meanwhile, maybe her cake will be rock hard and can be a used as a paperweight . The struggles are real no matter what their background is . You are a great mom .

  • thebeautifulopportunity

    They make wine in a can?? Is that a thing?

    As to, “perhaps one day, publishers will will embrace POCs who write about adoption…” Well, I surely like reading one particular POC who writes about adoption. And there’s a lot of published books on adoption biographies that are simply cruddy. The best I’ve seen so far on foster adoption is “Another Place at the Table” and, while I know others who liked it, it just wasn’t my thing. Now you, on the other hand, I’d read your stuff any day. So… maybe you should go for it!

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