You know how every family usually has a tradition they pass down from generation to generation? My family passes down the tradition of making birthday cakes. These aren’t just chocolate cakes with vanilla frosting covered with candles, but cakes that represented who my sister and I were each time one of our birthdays rolled around.
These cakes not only became the best part of becoming older, but they became a symbol of our personalities and how they changed each year, which my mom was able to capture in a cake. However, before I can talk about the cakes my mom brought alive for myself and my sister when we were younger, first I have to travel back to how her mother did the same thing for her.
My Grandmother’s Cakes
My grandmother was someone who was not only creative, but could make everyone else in the room smile. She was my mom’s best friend, and one of the things she loved to do was make cakes out of shapes that represented milestones in my mom’s life. As my mom grew up, my grandmother would surprise her each birthday with a different cake. One year, she was surprised with a cake shaped as a car as she just started driving. Another year, she had a birthday cake shaped as a computer related to her first job. All of the cakes represented a moment in time and my mom’s accomplishments. My grandmother made cakes that weren’t just cakes. Instead, she captured the journey of my mom’s life in her baking.
A Tradition Passed On
One of the last cakes my grandma made for my mom was for her wedding day. This is by far my favorite one because not only did it conclude the cakes she made for my mom all those years, but it celebrated my parents and the most important aspect for the bride, the wedding dress. A cake is simply something you eat for dessert, that’s a treat and fun to have, but for my family, cakes became so much more than that. Once my mom had my sister and me, she followed in my grandma’s footsteps and started capturing who we were every year in our birthday cakes.
My Mom’s Cakes
I know it may sound cliché or unrealistic to say a cake could mean so much, but our birthdays became all about what the cake would be, as my mom always made it a surprise until the big reveal on that day.
She captured our favorite things, our hobbies, our dreams, and our innocence in these cakes. I have a horrible long-term memory, which frustrates me all the time. However, I remember every cake she made me for those years. My mom took over the role her mom wasn’t able to keep doing, she took something her mom loved to do, something that captured moments by using food, and made it a tradition for our family.
Sometimes, we find traditions and memories in unusual places. My mom wanted to have a piece of her mom with her, and she did that with birthday cakes. My grandmother wanted to capture moments in a creative way. It’s crazy to realize how much of an impact something as simple as a birthday cake can have on a family, especially once you lose someone who it meant so much to.
My Future Tradition
One day, I too will keep up the tradition. My cakes might not be as amazing as my mom’s or grandmother’s because I’m definitely a better writer than I am an artist. At the same time, I won’t let the tradition stop with my sister and me. Some things, even if they are just regular cakes to those outside our family, have more meaning than one can express. A birthday cake became memories for me. My cakes became symbols of who I was as a kid and how my mom saw me. Now that I’m older, I truly appreciate what my mom did and how much it meant to her because of her mom. I realize what my mom was truly doing, and what she wanted to hold on to about her own mom.
A cake might disappear after it’s eaten, but for my sister and me, it’s the memory that is there. It’s the journey of how we changed and grew each year represented in a cake, and that’s something I’ll never forget.