Birthday Cake. Birthday Memories.

It is hard to believe that nine months has passed since my mom’s death.  Her absence is so strong and I miss her deeply.  I just celebrated my first birthday without her.  That was strange.  I am here on this earth because of her, yet she is not.  I just found that to be a weird feeling.  I did not get a phone call from her wishing me a happy birthday, nor did I get to request a special dessert; a long standing tradition.  I made my own birthday dessert using peaches picked at Sauvie Island.  I spent my birthday in the woods, enjoying one of my favorite camping spots with people I love dearly.  I reflected on birthdays of the past and memories of my mom.

This post is dedicated to my mom, who could make any dessert absolutely delicious.  I appreciate you in ways I never realized when you were living.  I miss your unconditional love.  I miss your ability to just listen without trying to fix anything.  I miss everything about you including your fantastic desserts, even though I couldn’t eat most of them.  Love was laced through out every dish you made whether it was sweet or savory.  I love you dearly and miss you profoundly.  I feel the loss of you in everything I do.  I grieve for you and I grieve for my kids, who also struggle with their own heartache around the loss of their beloved gramma (G’ma).  I feel their loss along with my own.  Even though they are both adults, I still want to remove the pain of your leaving.  I guess that is just the mom thing…..always wanting your kids to be well regardless of their age.  I know you know what I am talking about, mom.  You held the pain of all of your kids when any of us struggled; I know you did.  I know you were close by for my birthday.  I felt your presence as I stared at the star lit sky.  I imagine you would even try and hold my pain for you leaving here.  You were just that way; never wanting any of us to hurt.  I made my own birthday dessert while thinking of our peach picking adventures in my childhood.  I loved the orchards we visited, always excited to take that first juicy bite into a fresh picked peach.

I chose my birthday dessert for a few reasons.  We had peaches that needed to be used.  We were going out of town so I wanted something easy to make and transport.  I had a gluten free cake mix (Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix) sitting in the cupboard for months.  The end result was a peach dump cake.

It was pretty good, although the cake mix had a rather gritty texture.  I do not generally buy boxed cake mixes, but if I recall, this was a super deal and I wanted to just give it a try to see what it was like.  Everyone who tried it thought it was fabulous.  I made a coconut whip cream as topping.  Delicious!

I peeled and sliced four peaches and lined the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with them.  I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar over them then dumped the dry cake mix over the top along with a bit of water (about 1/2 cup).  I topped it with a mix of chopped nuts (cashews, almonds and walnuts), then sprinkled a little more cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar over that.  I melted about 1/8 cup of Earth Balance spread (soy free kind) and drizzled it over across the top of the cake then baked it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Happy birthday to me!   This was the first birthday for me that I celebrated you mom, along with me.  Thank you mom for giving me life.  As I sit here staring out at the ocean on one of my last out of town trips of the summer, I feel your presence.  You loved the beach and each time I am here I know you are close.  I wonder if you can feel me when I think of you.  I hope you can feel my love.  You are missed.

 

My mom at around my age. At the beach; one of her favorite places.

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