It was my birthday.
And it felt big.
Like a bookend on what has been – and what I hope to be – the most intense year of my life.
It was a year marked by loss, change, rewriting old scripts, and cracking open and finding and feeling love and a new path in life.
There were many times when I felt like a balloon at risk of floating away.
And when I did, my friend who saw me through it all would tie my string to her belt loop and keep me floating along at her side until I was ready to come back down and be again on my own.
She and I share a love of making cakes.
(Although she is an Escoffier-trained pastry chef; me? Not so much.)
And as my birthday approached, she wanted so badly to make a cake for me, my sweet friend did.
But she had just had chemo, and man, that stuff takes a lot out of a girl.
“I’m going to be a phoenix this round!” she said dramatically, her arms in the air. “Rising from the ashes!”
It takes a lot to keep her down.
So she made the three layer, pecan praline, caramel cake.
And … it fell apart on the drive to my house.
She did a good job concealing her disappointment.
But, for me, it was perfect.
It was the perfect gift.
It was our last year together – a gloriously sweet and heartbreakingly beautiful mess.
But it was more than that.
Because it was in the cake’s imperfection that I could see the love.
Not despite its imperfection.
The love was in its imperfection.
It was a perfectly human cake.
And I loved it.
But not nearly as much as I love the human who made it for me.
And whom I hope to share my birthday with until we are crotchety little old ladies.