Today was my son’s 14th birthday. Yesterday we prepared the traditional chocolate cake with his brother; we had a lot of fun of course, but not as much as today’s while eating the cake.
During the making of the cake, I mention a pinch of sugar in the whites, when I meant a pinch of salt of course. While the cake was baking, we enjoyed the last episode of season 5 of the West Wing, had you guessed it?
Traditions are sacred. Six years ago, I already documented the making of the famous homemade chocolate cake, that I learned to bake when I was a child, and that my four-year-old made with his grandmother in 2001 back in Paris. I am not sure I have any digital photo from back then, but the delicious pictures of the toddler in the kitchen mixing the batter are everywhere in my mind.
I have this fantasy that I have time to spare building a whole interesting book of memories on a unique theme, as discreet as the making of the chocolate cake. Each year, I think about it and pass on the action because pictures are either scattered or suddenly I realize how futile the endeavor would seem to anyone but me.
And then another year goes by and I really regret I did not do it, as it would be such a wonderful way to show something to the world, something that is so difficult to explain with words when you are living it day by day, one day at a time, and have done so now for decades in the plural form: the tiny changes that you cannot see, cannot feel, cannot experience, because one year after the other, all is so exactly the same and at the same time absolutely not any more.
Yes, the seasons come back, and with their name and their flow, what is expected at that time, happens. But, you have grown, and aged, and lost so much that remembering would allow to measure how much you actually have won, what you gained in wisdom and in patience, in understanding and in marveling.
This year was no different: I wanted it to be memorable and at the same time it felt such a repetition of the previous years heartaches that I nearly was discouraged before even starting. There is such an intense hope that things have changed for the better and the utter inability to feel that it happened. But only static memories can prove the feeling wrong and show that things change, not maybe what we wanted to change, but something is happening. Growth is happening.
The cake remains the same and the pleasure to eat it is a continuous renewal of memories to cherish.
Click on the picture to go browse the full album of pictures – starts with a short recap of past birthdays