Tuesday would have been my dad’s 81st birthday. It has been three and a half years since he died. Cody was in Kindergarten and Carter was a preschooler. Their memories of him, I’m afraid, are mostly built upon photographs and the spoken remembrances of others.
I am not sure quite why, but this year I decided to make my dad’s favorite cake. The cake my mom made for him every year. It is a simple spice cake with homemade penuche, or brown sugar, frosting.
I mentioned the fact that I was going to make a cake for Grandpa’s birthday on our way home from school Monday night. Carter asked me if he thought I would be sad, throwing a party for someone I loved but was dead and therefore could not come to the party. Apparently, one can not make a cake unless there is a party at which it is to be eaten. I told him it was not a party, but more of a time to remember and to enjoy a tasty treat that was one of Grandpa’s favorites.
I was just dishing up the last slice and Carter was eager to dig in, his fork halfway to his mouth, when Cody spoke up. He thought it would be nice to take a moment to go around the table, clock-wise (ah, my detail oriented child!), and to share a memory of Grandpa.
And so we did. And then we ate cake. It was not a party; it was better than a party. It was a nice way to honor the memory of my father and to grow and strengthen Cody and Carter’s memories of their Grandpa.