My daughter celebrates an important birthday today. She turns sixteen years old. Sweet Sixteen! One-six. There is a “1” and a “6” standing together!
I’d like to say that I remember all of her birthdays as if they happened yesterday. But, that’s not true. The years have flown by and I remember some more than others.
On her first birthday, we threw a party at my mom’s house. Just family came to see her eat cake and blow out candles. I also remember one of her aunts bringing a rather large platter of chicken nuggets that my daughter very much enjoyed.
On her second birthday, the family, including grandparents and aunts and uncles got to eat pizza with Chuck E. Cheese. What I recall the most is how much my daughter enjoyed being carried around by her loved ones to play video games and dance with Chuck and friends.
On her third, I couldn’t tell you. Same for birthdays four, five and on through ten. Heck, on through fifteen! Those memories flow one into the other on VHS tapes and prints from disposable cameras and more recently iPhone clicks uploaded to a photo site that no one looks at. I faintly recall gold pants, a Barbie cake, more Chuck E. Cheese, a few Disney trips with the grandparents, a silly scarf, dancing, Fudgie-the-Whale cakes, outings with aunts and uncles, bumper boats, eating at semi-fine restaurants, and lots of chocolate cakes.
She never asked for much or anything at all. Maybe it was because we didn’t celebrate with lavish parties. Maybe she was just shy. Maybe she just enjoyed the company of her family the most.
For instance, she is now at the age where she is legally old enough to drive…one would think she’d ask for a car. She is now also legally old enough to get an industrial ear piercing on her own…so, one would think she’d have the appointment ready, first available. But when I asked her if she wanted/still wants these things, she just shrugs her shoulders in a true “I don’t know” fashion.
What she did state clearly, however, is that she wanted a cookie cake. A cookie cake? Yes. That’s what I heard, too. Ok. I told her I’d get one at the local grocery store, easy does it.
But, alas…it’s never that easy, is it? None of the stores located in my area had cookie cakes for sale. I was quite flabbergasted and also bummed out that I’d have to bake one. Not because I didn’t want to, but just because…I really didn’t want to. Such a pain measuring and mixing, especially with a toddler trying to attach his large head to your foot. I dislike it immensely. However, it was such a simple request, how could I let her down?
The cookie cake turned out to be a success. And I semi-enjoyed making it because I knew she would like it and also because the baby was distracted by a piece of cereal he couldn’t quite reach under the dishwasher. It didn’t look much like a success, though…a mixture of fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookie deliciousness, piped with pink glitter icing, shaky lettering and two rainbow-colored candles. But, it was made with love.
I hope my daughter knows how much I adore her. I hope she knows that behind every stern warning and every strict order, that I love her. I’m sure she secretly wishes for a brand new car or even that piercing. But, I love that we spent her sixteenth birthday together laughing and enjoying dinner and a cookie cake made from the heart. This birthday, this one, I will remember. I’ll remember it because it was so simple. A simple request from a sixteen year old. And the simple things are the best things.