The Bristol Birthday Season used to start with my birthday in February. We had a birthday every 1-2 weeks through the middle of April. But my father-in-law, who had a February birthday, died, so there is a gap that lasts from February 2nd to March 1st. After that, it’s “no holds barred.”
Beginning with my oldest son, there is at least one birthday every 2 weeks–March 1st, March 20th, March 21st, April 1st, April 6th, April 8th, April 15th, April 16th and April 20th.
Granted, these are not all MY children, but somehow, my sons managed to marry people born in the Spring as well. My first grandchild also has an April birthday. My oldest son Joked that they just wanted to make it easy for me. I only need to make one trip to Hallmark! I replied, “But it’s a very expensive trip!”
My mother-in-law (with her income-tax-due-date birthday in April) was a ranch wife who lived seven hours away. When our sons were born, she lamented that she couldn’t come help with the babies because it was calving season, a very busy time for ranchers. I told her that I was like the cows; I had my babies in the Spring.
As the boys were growing up and having birthday parties, it was a very expensive time of year, harder on the checkbook than Christmas time. But it was fun. I must admit that my middle son, whose birthday is in April, was occasionally short-changed because of “mommy burn-out.” But he also had the most faith in my abilities to make a fantastic cake. Every year he challenged me to come up with a Superman or Ghostbusters or Batman or basketball cake or some other themed cake. The other two boys didn’t care as much. I could throw some plastic dinosaurs or a train on a cake and they were happy. But my middle son held high expectations. I had to fight through the “burn out” and slog on.
I made some pretty interesting cakes through the years. Some more successful than others. I was definitely not a professional baker or cake decorator but I could do enough to satisfy the family.
The boys have fond memories of the basketball cake. It was the simplest birthday cake I made. I baked it in a large mixing bowl, giving it the shape it needed to represent a ball.
My most challenging cake was the pirate’s treasure chest because I had to slant the top layer and prop it open using candy jewelry. It was tricky doing that without the layer breaking. It was successful, though, and the kids loved it.
Another challenge presented itself when my youngest wanted a Harry Potter birthday theme. I found suggestions for a princess castle and I converted the idea into Hogwarts School of Wizardry.
I made a racing car that was fun, and later used the same idea for an ambulance created for a nurses’ event.
My sons are grown now and I no longer make their birthday cakes. They live in their own homes and celebrate in their own ways. I have noticed that my granddaughters have some pretty elaborate cakes made by professionals. The cakes are beautifully decorated. It will be interesting to see if the girls have the same kind of memories of their birthday cakes that my boys did of their crude “mom-made” creations. I’m sure they will, but they won’t have the stories about the cakes that flopped, like the duck/fish cake. That is a story for another day.