In our house April is like a second run of Christmas. Two of my kids had the audacity of having their birthdays two days apart. We had nothing to do with it. Imagine that first year, when on our oldest son’s fourth birthday we showed up with cake, balloons, presents and a brand new baby brother. It was, quite literally, priceless.
Regardless of my initial concern, by now they seem to find it very amusing, particularly when they see me fret around trying to have everything ready on time, presents, cake, parties, cameras and the likes. Like everyone else, I dread children’s birthday parties. With three kids now, we are quickly approaching a record number of invitations. But it’s one of those things that can never be right. It is bad if you are invited to too many, but even worse if you are invited to none. Consequently, if you throw one, you want as many kids to come as possible. So I try for my sons to attend as many as they are invited to.
Since both of our families are back home in Spain, I always feel the need to throw my kids a big birthday party, so I can pretend they are not missing so much growing up so far away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. In previous years I would buy the cakes but throw the party, cooking included, at home. It always worked, but we live in a tiny townhouse in the city, and this year we would exceed the capacity of our patio, expansive for Lincoln Park, but still small. So I decided to switch. This year I baked the cakes, but I am outsourcing the party. I will report on that when it takes place, but I suspect that the switch is going to make it even more priceless. For now, I leave you with the picture of my first attempt to bake a birthday cake, and two lessons I learned for the future: clear the table before taking pictures, and there is actually such a thing as too much chocolate.
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