No journal of our cake experiences would be complete without including The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Cake Day. You might think it’s silly; silly, that is if you don’t think dogs are a crucial part of life…but you won’t think it’s silly if you have given part of your heart to a dog.
It was early on in our cake-making days and we were, once again, stressed because our first tiered cake was preparing to leave the house. I had done a tiered cake to practice but this was the real deal, a cake for a deployment party for a young man in the military who was heading to Iraq. It had to be special. We are fiercely patriotic and we wanted this cake to be perfect. We want every cake to be perfect but this one was a milestone in several ways for us.
We actually had two cakes due that day. Can you feel the stress level rising? The second cake was for a precious family that we have grown to love very much. Their cake had to be perfect as well. It was for a much-loved mom who had been through more than any woman should have to go through in her lifetime. She is a jewel to her children and they wanted to give her a very special cake.
This is my little girl, Gypsy. She was a 10 year old chihuahua who was glued to my side for her entire, brief life. Before I brought her home, I had read that small dogs live longer than big dogs and some chihuahuas could live to be 20 years old. She was sooooo cute as a puppy, only a pound and a half, and she quickly endeared herself to the whole family. But she was my girl. She was my protector, even though she was only 4 pounds. She slept beside me every night, yes, in my bed. She went wherever I went and when I drove, she sat on my lap. If I was in the room with her, she never took her eyes off me, and when I came home, I was greeted by a dancing little dog on my bed (we didn’t have to crate her because she was so little, we just put her on the bed when we were out). She was one of my ‘everythings’……you know, we all have them, things that mean the world to us. For some people, it’s a car, for others it might be a piece of heirloom jewelry handed down from their grandmother. For me, it was my precious little friend.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t as important as my children, and I never treated her like anything other than a dog, but she was one of my dearest friends and she loved me the way that only dogs can love, asking nothing in return.
A few years ago she was diagnosed with a liver problem and we had to put her on medication. I vowed I would never put a dog on medication but, with Gypsy I had no choice. I couldn’t do anything but do everything to keep her in good health. The medicine worked for a while but she would get bouts where she’d get very sick and stop eating. At four pounds, you can imagine how I worried, she didn’t have a lot of weight to spare. A year ago, we had to put her on some stronger medication and the bouts of her getting sick seemed to come more often. She had a particularly bad one in January but I coaxed and pleaded, wheedled and cajoled to get her to eat and she pulled through.
Then, in June, she started with a bad bout again and nothing I did seemed to work. I knew I was losing her. It just had to be my decision when to put her down. She was wasting away day by day and, as much as I knew I was going to lose her, my heart just wouldn’t let her go. I decided on a Friday, that it was time and we called the vet. You guessed it. We made an appointment for the next day, the day that the two previously mentioned cakes were due.
I woke up that morning knowing how the day was going to play out. I had already decided that I couldn’t go with Rick to the vet because of the cakes and then it occurred to me that I couldn’t go because of Gypsy. I didn’t want that to be my last memory of her and so my precious Gracie, my tender-hearted, can’t-even-see-an-animal-on-the-side-of-the-road Gracie, offered to go with Rick and love my little Gypsy through to the end.
Through tears, I threw myself into the cakes. There was much to be done and I had to stay focused. Occasionally, I would run over to the couch to check on her while Gracie held her, then I’d run back to the kitchen and dive back in.
It was time. Rick and Gracie left for the vet. The cakes were done and, Megan and Bethie and Jeremy being on delivery duty that day, left as well. The house was quiet and I finally had a chance to sit and have a good, rip-roaring cry.
I think about that day a lot. I think about how much harder it would have been if I hadn’t had those cakes to do. I think about how I would have been a wreck if the cakes hadn’t given me something else to think about. I don’t know why, but God brings the things into our lives that we need the most right when we need them the most. I still wonder sometimes, why He has us doing cakes but I think I know why, at least on one particular day in June.