We make towering cakes, slather them with frosting and poke long wax sticks in the top.
We sing “Happy Birthday” off pitch.
They blow out the candles…
…making sure not to leave one burning so the aunts and uncles won’t tease them about having a girlfriend.
We slice the cake, revealing mammoth layers of soft chocolate and lip smacking frosting.
Everyone leaves and it’s time to clean up the mess. But why is it so hard for us to throw out the candles? Is it because they were only lit long enough to sing one rendition of “Happy Birthday” before the smoke drifted through the kitchen?
Or does it make us sad to see our babies getting older and we’re overcome with nostalgia? Are we afraid we’ll lose the memories of each party, each balloon, each cake, each smile, each celebration?
Or are we afraid they will forget?
Sweet and burning wishes,