I am going to visit my kids tomorrow for the first time in 17 months. Due to covid restrictions and my own personal level of comfort with the risk involved with travel, I have not seen my kids since March 2020. It’s a short ferry ride and a bit of a drive that separates them from me, but this pandemic has made it as insurmountable as if it was another continent.
With this visit comes high levels of anxiety for me. The cases are rising again at an alarming rate and even though I am fully vaccinated, I am acutely aware of the risk of transmission that is all around us. I also know that with the cases climbing and the variants, this may be the window that I have before things start to shut down again and restrictions on travel come back into place. I am one of those people you see who are still masking and staying socially distant and doing as much as possible to reduce my own, and others, risk. With all of the information at hand, I have decided that the risk is manageable for me to make a day trip happen. 17 months is an unbelievably long time to have not seen my boys.
Tonight, in preparation of the visit tomorrow, I decided to bake a cake to bring with me. It’s the cake that I always make for their birthdays. A favourite.
It has been a very long time since I have baked anything. My stove in my home was not working well for baking/cooking for the first 9 months that I lived here, and it’s just recently been replaced. I can’t use that as an excuse though really. Most of my lack of baking or cooking was due in large part to depression.
So tonight, I gathered everything that I would need and set about creating a cake that is (and I know this sounds corny ) a very real manifestation of our family – my boys and I. A cake that is always the go to for birthdays and celebrations. The much beloved Laisy Daisy cake. A simple sweet white cake topped with a brown sugar, coconut topping. So sweet it makes your teeth hurt and so dense that one piece leaves you feeling like you need a nap. They love it though, and I love them, so it always makes an appearance. Considering I have missed all of their birthdays in the last 17 months, I want to bring this.
After a considerable amount of time spent hunting through my kitchen for my mixer (and, oh my, all the pots and pans, slow cooker, casserole dishes and baking dishes covered in a layer of dust in my cupboards…) I got to it. Put on some good loud music on the headphones and danced my way around the kitchen as the sweet smell of hot milk, vanilla and enough brown sugar and coconut to bathe the cake filled the air.
And something happened. I felt like me again. For a few moments, I was light and easy and smiling, and I felt good. By doing something that has always been so “me” , I felt like me again for a little bit. Even when the emotions hit (and boy did they hit hard) about how much I have missed my kids, and the tears came, I still felt good for making this cake happen. I had not realized just how much I had pushed away how deeply I miss them. To acknowledge it over these past 17 months would have been too much to live with so I pushed it away to a great degree. Until tonight and the cake reminded me of what has been missing. In more ways than one.