My life takes the cake

I just turned 53 years old. Where has the time gone? Where have I been all my life? How did I get here?
Turn around and I was 10. Turn around and I was 21. Turn around and I was 40. Turn around and here I am, not yet on the high side of 50 and yet feeling as if haven’t yet begun to know who I am.
I was born the day before Hallowe’en and as a kid, my birthdays always were full of spooky celebrations with my girlfriends. We would sit in the dark and pass around bowls of cold spaghetti, peeled grapes, jiggled Jell-O, and all manner of other pseudo body parts that my mom had cooked up and prepared for us giggly sorts to sink our fingers into and tell ghost stories about until we were creeped out.
It was gross—and it was so much fun.
Then my mom would top it all off with a birthday cake that, to this day, is bar none my favourite of all time. I saw it on my birthday ever year as a child from as far back as I can remember until I was probably 12 years old.
Those same birthday cakes each year rate above the super awesome “death by chocolate” birthday cake my mom makes for me today—and not because they tasted better (believe me, the “death by chocolate” birthday cake is among my version of chocolate principles to live by).
It had a new Barbie doll standing in the middle of an inverted sponge cake that billowed outward and was decorated like Barbie’s party dress. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
And best of all, the Barbie was mine when all the cake was gone.
Inside the cake, my mom had hidden 10-cent pieces wrapped in wax paper. Magically, we all managed to find a dime in our piece of cake. It was amazing and I, for one, felt rich.
When I was growing up, I heard stories of how, when I was one year old, I put my face in my birthday cake. Plunk. Just like that. Oh, the undeniable free spirit of the young at heart.
When I turned 18, while sitting around the dining table with my family and friends celebrating my day . . . plunk. Just like that. Now that was funny.
Between my 24th and 30th birthdays (the “having kids” years), my birthdays were usurped by diapers and drool. I had made a plan to have all my children born before my 30th birthday. I just made it.
Daughter #3 was born seven days before I turned 30. Whew.
Then, suddenly, it was 2000, I was turning 40, and I wanted to stop the world and celebrate what was sure to be my best year yet. I don’t have to look very far to see a bald reminder of that Hallowe’en birthday party.
One of my friends shaved his head for his Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson costume and has never since grown it back.
And then suddenly it is 2013 and I’m 53. Where has the time gone? Where have I been all my life? How did I get here?
I still have my Barbie dolls in a box. I still love birthday cake, especially the “death by chocolate” one.
And yet I wonder where am I going and what does my future hold as I wake up each morning to be this woman who is learning new things about herself every day?
Some of it I like; some of it I don’t. But what the heck.
I think I will make my life my cake and jump in. Plunk. Just like that.

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