So…..maybe you’ve said to yourself, “Woah, what happened to the Cake Dorks?”…….or maybe, “Those cake people must have fallen off the face of the earth.” I guess sometimes people do fall off the face of the earth…..or sometimes, it’s just hard to know what to write.
For those of you who have been following our blog, I feel the need to apologize. It’s been kind of a rough month….not cakewise, mind you…..lifewise. I guess that I haven’t felt much like writing lately. It’s not that we haven’t been busy with cakes. As a matter of fact, we have our most ambitious cake ever coming up this week. It’s just that life gets too heavy to carry sometimes and it’s hard to keep up with the regular stuff, let alone the extras…..like writing a blog.
“Let me ‘splain….no, let me sum up,” (to quote one of our favorite movies, The Princess Bride). My Father passed away several years ago from the effects of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, leaving my Mother to live alone. She lives in the same town as my Sister, and for the most part, she has been healthy (sort of) enough to maintain her own house. She’s lonely but she insists on keeping her house as long as she is able to.
Her house is on a quiet little street in a very ‘Small-town America’ town and a few weeks ago, her house was flooded….2 1/2 feet of muddy, bacteria-filled water in her first floor. She lost all her furniture, the downstairs had to be gutted, and she is currently staying with my sister.
It’s bad enough that she lost everything but a few years ago, because of her limited income, she dropped her flood insurance and when FEMA came through to see if she qualified for aid, they turned her down. Apparently, if you live in a mandatory flood zone (as she does) and don’t carry flood insurance (whether you can afford it or not) you will get no assistance unless you have flood insurance. Sort of sounds like a contradiction if you ask me. If you could afford flood insurance, why would you need FEMA? She has no resources to replace anything….that is, no human resources.
So as you can see, my heart is heavy for this poor, little, sweet, 89-year old woman. She’s been flooded before, back in 72, but she was younger, healthier, and she had a strong, healthy husband who helped her put life back together. It’s sad, and tragic, and now you can understand why I haven’t been able to write anything for a while.
Fast forward to this week…….
We are working on our hardest, most challenging cake project yet. We are re-creating the scene from a favored video game for a very special birthday. We’ve spent hours working on the gum paste components. As I said before, we work on gum paste for weeks ahead of time and the actual baking is the last thing that we do. So we were sitting at the kitchen table yesterday and I received a post on Facebook by the person who had ordered the cake, telling me how excited she was to see the cake later this week. I thought it might be fun for her to see some of the work in process so I sent her a private message with some pictures. She answered me back, “Thank you so much…..your talent brings incredible joy.”
I answered her back, “Awwwww, thanks, that’s why we do it.”
For a little while, I forgot about joy.
When you are working on gum paste, you have lots of time to think and I started thinking about joy.
It happens to all of us. We get so burdened down by life, that we forget about the joy. We forget that there are always things to be thankful for. There are always things that bring joy. Sometimes, the things that bring us joy are bringing joy to other people. There are always things that we can do, to bring us out of ourselves, that bring joy to someone else. I thought, “What an awesome gift I’ve been given……that something that I do can bring someone else joy.”
And then I thought,”That IS why we do it.” That’s why we spend countless hours at the kitchen table crafting characters from a video game, or delicate roses, or polka dots and zebra stripes………because not only does it bring us joy, it brings joy to other people. We’ve already talked, in previous blogs, about the payoff when we deliver a cake and see the look on the person’s face. It’s amazing. Sheer joy.
I think that we can get so mired down that we forget the joy, at least I know that I do. I’m not going to make light of this situation by saying that if I take my Mother a cake, it will bring her joy. I’m sure that it would make her happy but it won’t restore everything that she’s lost. But what I will do is go there and give her a hug, and maybe cry with her, and thank my Sister for taking such good care of my Mother, and, hopefully, that will bring us all some of the joy that we’ve forgotten about in this whole, horrible, sad situation.
Thanks, Jennifer…..for reminding me about joy.