A Birthday Cake in a Pandemic
Olivia Ren, 10
I was wandering around my house, not doing anything in particular, just walking around. It was March 16, 2020, and my mom, dad, little sister, and I were trying to adjust to a new life due to COVID-19. By “new life,” I mean a totally different lifestyle. I needed to go to school on my computer at nine, and finish the work that was posted on my Google Classroom by one, and then go and watch my sister for my parents because they were busy with their work. Things were difficult, but there was an even more important issue for us: in one day, it would be my mom’s birthday.
During one of my virtual school breaks, I had overheard my parents talking upstairs. They weren’t talking with any of their colleagues, only each other. This was not regular. I was so curious that I forgot to stay quiet, and ran to their room. They were so concentrated on talking that they didn’t hear my loud footsteps on our creaky floor.
My dad sighed. “I guess we can’t get a birthday cake for you this year.”
I couldn’t bear to listen to my parents talk about my mom’s birthday anymore. How could I just stand there watching my mom’s birthday pass by without cake? I was determined to make my mom’s birthday special. I felt thankful that I had a mom who cared about my birthday, and I wanted her to feel the same. But what could I do?
Then...a lightbulb appeared in my head. Yogurt could save the day.
It was my mom’s birthday, and I tiptoed down the stairs. I ripped open our refrigerator looking for the yogurt. My whole family was doing their own things. Emily, my sister, was making a card for my mom. My parents were sleeping.
I stacked slices of breakfast bread on top of each other and slathered them with yogurt to glue them together. Then I drizzled some of the yogurt frosting over my creation. I scanned our fridge, plucked out all the other ingredients I needed.
I soon had a problem, though. My yogurt frosting was way too solid. I thought of water right away, but I didn’t even try to imagine what my creation would taste like if I stirred water into my strawberry yogurt. Then I thought of milk. My sister mixed milk and yogurt all the time and it tasted... well, great! So, I went with milk stirred with yogurt.
Nah. It was too watery. I didn’t want to bring my mom a disgusting and soggy piece of nothing. It needed to be a little bit stickier. I brainstormed what was sticky. Glue! Well, we couldn’t eat glue. That would be careless. Then I thought of syrup and honey! Syrup made it cloggy, honey made it clear, but it wasn’t half as sweet as I wanted it to be. So, I sprinkled some sugar to make it sweeter.
It took much longer than I expected, but I kept working on my mom’s cake, not allowing anything to stop me!
After a few hours, it was time for my mom’s birthday celebration.
“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear mo-om, happy birthday to you.” I sang the loudest! My mom made her wish, and then it was cake time! I got my cake, and carefully placed it onto the dining table.
“Wow! That looks beautiful...” My mom said, tearing up with happiness.
“I hope you like it!” I told her. “I ran into some problems, but it should still taste good.”
“It’s fine! I absolutely love it! I am so proud of you!” Mom sniffled. She hugged me.
I hugged her right back and smiled. “Thanks! I felt that every birthday needed a cake, even in a pandemic.” I felt proud, emotional, and happy at the same time. I just loved to make my mom feel happy.
“Yeah, I agree! Good job Olivia! I think you just made Mom’s day!” Dad told me.
That night, I went to bed feeling amazed by the power of determination. Even during tough times, there is always some way to make others feel special. My goal to get my mom a birthday cake during a pandemic was achieved, and even better, it helped make my mom feel appreciated. This is the true way to spread thoughtfulness during hard times.