Sunday was Tall’s birthday. Besides the fact that The Husband argued with me for ten minutes straight about which day was Tall’s birthday (“I know it’s the 7th not the 4th, you’re wrong”) and I thought I might have to pull out his birth certificate to convince him, the day went smoothly. We had planned an afternoon bowling party for him and his little pals, and he was excited to go. The grandparents sent generous gift certificates for tiny pieces of plastic to embed in my foot in the middle of the night (also known as “Legos”). The problem began, however, when I went to pick up the cake.
If you have followed my blog for more than 60 seconds, you already know about the cake fiasco (come back and read after this story) with Short from last summer. I was determined to not let that happen again. I got there early this time, and I planned to ask to see the cake before I actually paid and took it with me.
The bakery lady came from behind the counter and told me that she was “just finishing up” and how old was my son again?
I wasn’t mad that the cake wasn’t ready. Heck, being a mom I appreciate a 15 minute wait at the gynecologist’s office and consider it my special alone time. I thanked the bakery lady, grabbed the newspaper, and sat down to relax for a few minutes.
About half an hour later, she walked out of the back kitchen with the lovely cake. She set it on the counter in its pink paper bakery box, then slowly lifted the lid. She was clearly very proud of her creation. It was an extravaganza of chocolate and brightly-colored sprinkles. Eight little clowns stared up at me from the frosting.
This woman who I’d been going to since her shop opened four years ago, this woman who made desserts of such high caliber and perfection that they literally made me weep with joy, this woman who had single-handedly gotten my dental insurance deductible tripled, this woman who could go on Top Chef Just Desserts and win every challenge in her sleep, this woman … clearly had no children of her own.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the only people who like clowns are two-year-olds and meth addicts. I knew instantly that Tall would deem the cake “too baby,” but that’s what I get for not being more specific (“Oh, no particular theme. Whatever you think is cute.”). Control-freak Queen Virgo was instantly regretting the idea of being nice for once and letting the bakery lady do her job without me micromanaging her.
My hands were sweating. I really needed to say something, something like, Bakery Lady, you have to take those bizarre clowns off of there or Tall will never speak to me again because he will be the laughing stock of his second-grade cronies who prefer skateboards and soccer balls and Star Wars to toddler-style clowns, but I was too afraid. I didn’t want to insult her by implying that there was some sort of problem with her decorating.
But I also didn’t want Tall to be mad at me and boycott his own party to avoid being mocked by his peers.
I did what I always do in situations like this: I lied. I looked the bakery lady right in the eye, smiled, and said sweetly, “Wow! Pretty! But would you please take the clowns off? Tall has a deep-seated fear of clowns.”