by Jennifer Dyer
A while back I made an Angry Birds Chewbacca cake for my nephew’s birthday. It required planning and a meticulous hand for decorating. At least in my mind. But the kids wanted to help.
Grating chair legs crossed the kitchen floor. Rachel was on her way with her favorite stool–the chair which happens to be the furthest from the counters. She shoved her chair to the spot in front of the mixer. All ingredients had to be cleared through her majesty before going into the mix.
When the frosting phase came, Rachel again scraped her chair across the entire floor. The dog tucked his tail and hid under the bed. Eldest covered her ears. When Rachel arrived at the island, where I usually do the frosting, she swept items from the counter top. An avalanche of supplies plummeted to the floor. Suddenly, the dog appeared at my feet, ready to be of assistance should any cake fall to his domain.
I loaded the chocolate frosting into my frosting bag. Rachel grabbed it and squeezed. After I wiped the frosting off my arm, off her front and off the floor, we started again. She gripped my hand with the strength of a lumberjack, swishing frosting.
Eldest approached. She wanted a turn too.
Waves of irritation swept through me. Other mothers would see this cake. They might think I was hitting the cooking sherry while I decorated this thing. It won’t be as impressive as his pirate ship was last year. They’ll all know I’m not talented. They’ll think I’m a flop… His feathers look like blobs of dirt.
I stopped the tidal wave of mommy irritation before it hit the shores of my mouth. I thought over something I’d just read in Lead Your Family Like Jesus. What was my purpose? A perfect cake? No, I can’t even do that when I try on my own. As a mom, though, my purpose is spending time with my children and teaching them. With that in mind, we pressed on, laughing at the wind-blown look of his feathers.
When everything was finished, and the frosting bowl cleaned, I took the stack of dirty towels to the laundry room. When I came back, Chewbacca had just returned from the barber shop. Half of his “feathers” were gone, swept aside by a frosting knife. When she saw me, Rachel ran to her office under the stairs, slamming the door.
Again, I had a choice. Blow my stack or let it be a funny, teachable moment. Again, I also revisited the purpose. It wasn’t about a cake. It was about teaching Rachel and growing closer to her. I had to remake some frosting and give Chewie the best comb over I could manage. And it all worked out fine. I hear he tasted delicious, and I don’t think his comb over mattered too much.
This is month on MomLife Today will feature the topic of anger. Join us there for more on managing mom emotions. For more on parenting with grace, check out Lead Your Family Like Jesus, which comes out in April.