I had baked a cake about a year ago, made from scratch, and I remember humming and smiling to myself over how grateful and awe struck my children would be with my superior baking skills and careful thought for their health. No high fructose, no bleached, bromated, hydrogenated, or otherwise plastic ingredients for my darlings! My Mary Poppins meets Ina Garten fantasy bubble burst when they declared my labor of love "tasteless." I quietly took off the imaginary apron, pearls, and heels I was wearing, cleaned the kitchen, and refrained from baking a cake since.
Then I saw this cake, pictured on a box of cake mix, and suddenly craved cake. I'm not a sweets person, so I wheeled my cart away from the display, but found myself staring at my grocery list, watching each penciled item morph into the word cake. Asp...ar..a...gcake, e..g..g..scake, pot..a...t..o ...scake. See? The cake was inevitable, undeniable, and I could feel my imaginary apron cinching my waist all the way to the checkout.
When my son refused to believe I had made the cake rather than the bakery, requesting a second slice for forensic purposes, I knew the cake was good. Never mind it looks nothing like the photo on the box and the strawberries tasted most un-strawberry like, the general consensus was pleasant and the process enjoyable. Motherhood is similar; reality will never live up to the staged photos and advertised promises, but for every dozen failures to please or be pleased, there is a quiet, imperfect success. Happy Mother's Day. Have some cake.