I love decorating cakes for the littles, but when an adult birthday rolls around, this cake lady takes the day off. Themes are harder to come by. Everyone’s “eating healthy.” A special cake goes underappreciated.
But with Daddy out of town on his birthday, the boys were begging me to surprise him with a cake upon his return. They even cooked up a theme – Indiana Jones – and asked me every day if it was time to make the cake. We had one box cake left in the pantry and frozen icing leftover from the Mario bash a few weeks back. Sure. Let’s do this.
The kids were off to school and I had just enough time to mix it and pop it in the oven. I lifted the 800 lb stand mixer to the counter, added all the ingredients, and plugged in the trusty appliance.
What happened next was a blur. Not because I don’t remember it. It was literal blurry. Raw egg (which had been on top) and barely mixed cake batter was dripping from my eyelashes and all over my clothes, counter, and every surface within a two-foot radius, including on the poor, unsuspecting spaghetti squash (which had been patiently waiting for dinner), icing tubs, lunch boxes (it was Taco Tuesday at school), every crevice of the mixer itself, and that stack of library books someone was going to get around to reading.
When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Lumpy, ready-to-be-mixed batter. Slopped and plopped in every space it could reach. What. A. Mess.
This is the scene when the mixer lever is bumped to on, a downside to storing your mixer in a high-traffic pan cabinet. Who checks if the mixer is already “on” before plugging it in?
One small check can make all the difference between a cake headed into the oven and an entirely new kitchen decor called “Batter Splatter.”
We live in an impatient era. Everything is at our fingertips, life is full, and we move quickly. We don’t make time to get it right the first time. GPS will course correct. We’ve got at least five password attempts before we are locked out of our account. Auto-correct will write what we really meant. Backspace and undo are a button and a shake away. There’s accident forgiveness, merchandise returns, white-out, spotters, fee-waiving, stain remover, and apps for that. We don’t make time for the small checks, because a redo is usually at the ready.
But not everything in life has a CTRL+Z. Some decisions don’t get a second chance. Most words can’t be returned to sender.
I wonder what it would look like if I slowed a bit.
Made some observations before reacting to my children. Asked some questions before judging a situation. Wrote a rough draft before responding to a communication. Ran an idea by someone not caught up in the emotion. Made time to truly sleep on it. Did a little research. Took a deep breath. Prayed.
Before the words went splattering to places unexpected, in a way unintended.
Before the choices landed in uninvited places requiring a clean up crew.
Before there’s no turning back because the damage is done.
What would “slow” look like for me in each of my arenas, relationships, routines? It costs time – of that there is no doubt. But a little time now means not cleaning up cake batter for the rest of the day and not finding dried cake batter years down the road.