“The Nut Cake”

I am the 3rd generation to make this cake.

Maybe more.

It has a history of its own, but since it’s my husband’s family — I can’t tell you. Maybe one day. Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal, just a few comments that have festered over decades. When I look at family dynamics like this through the lens of my mindfulness training I can easily see how curious, compassionate communication could have mended relationships and set them on a road to Forgiveness. But as someone who has also experienced this generational negativity, I am compassionate and loving with myself as I sit in awareness.

Please understand that I’m living my mindfulness practice, and it’s harder than burning some incense, lighting a candle and saying a prayer or offering a blessing. It is becoming aware, choosing to forgive, and creating a boundary.At least for me and where I am in my practice. I have a long way to go and a lifetime to get there.

The Candles

I have saved the first candle from my son’s 1st birthday party. We had the party two days after my Mom died. Bummer, I know. While she sat in the hospital bed I explained to her how she would come home on Thursday and we would have the party on Saturday. She smiled the smile and told me that she wouldn’t make it to Saturday. She indeed died on Friday morning.

Needless to say, I still had the small family get together — but the tone wasn’t “birthdayish”. I think in my mind, if I preserved all the physical stuff from that day . . . my mom’s physical-ness would remain with me. Flawed thinking as I began to create a shrine of my mom’s stuff . . . my mom had tons of stuff (somewhat of a hoarder) and my life became keeping physical things to ease the pain of having her gone.

Anyway . . .

The candle was saved. Then this very 2 on my husband’s cake was my son’s 2 for his second birthday — and Elmo cake. Then all the kids from then out had the 2 with an Elmo cake! Can you begin to seen the trend?

I have been making my husband the same cake for over 20 years. One day I wonder if my daughter in law’s will make it for my sons?

The 2 candle has been used 4 times as a 2, 3 times as part of a 12, twice as a 42. The 5 has been used 4 times as a 5, once as a 15, twice as 45 and 5 times for the 50’s.

It’s not so much frugal as I’m a hopeless romantic and thrive on knowing how we are connected and we are all walking each other home. Our ages become intertwined by a candle AND how we celebrate. Which brings me to the paper and iPod.

The Best Family Tradition Ever

The notebook and the iPod are helping my kid write out his “Top Ten List” of the things he loves about his day. This will be the first time he came up with the list completely on his own and will be writing it out. It may take him all day BUT he is up for the challenge. And that is why it makes this 52nd birthday list so special.

I wrote a wonderful article about our family tradition for Thrive Global. If you want some great inspiration → read it here. It explains how, by chance, or being aware, a tradition was born.

The Dinner

For this birthday we will have a special dinner of all my husband’s favorite foods. I love birthdays. I think they should be the ultimate celebration of your YOU-NESS. I go overboard with the planning and thinking out every detail. It is that important to me to celebrate those I love in this way.

What about everyone else?

Can I keep this up with my 12 nieces and nephews and my grand nephew? No, I can’t. I don’t even try anymore. What I do is send each of them a gift once a year . . . it may or may not be near their birthday. At this very moment, my nephew had a birthday last week and I’m looking at his gift on the counter! My brother has a birthday within a week and I’m DON’T know what to get him — but when I see the perfect gift, I WILL buy it and give it to him.

That’s how I roll. I could give out gift certificates without thought but that’s not how I roll either. A few decades ago I decided that when I give a gift it is going to be thoughtful or I’m just not gonna do it. For the record, my nephew is going to get a Starbucks gift card! I know he will use it and I know who he will use it with — which makes me smile.

Renee Tarantowski: Visit Renee at  ReneeLove.com and see more of her work here.