My mother's birthday brings fond memories of cake creations.

Today my mother celebrates her 81st birthday. When I asked her what her fondest birthday memories were, she noted those memories included the times I would attempt to surprise her with a homemade birthday cake.

It wasn’t easy for one to surprise my mother, especially when it involved working in the kitchen. The kitchen was my mother’s post, the one place where she was in complete control at all times. But somehow on her birthday she magically disappeared, and the space became available for me to bake a special dessert.

I must admit I’ve come a long way. The cakes in my early days often cracked as I tried to remove them from the pans too early. I wasn’t patient enough to let them cool completely. Then I would get frustrated when the frosting melted as I applied it to the warm cake. I cringe to think that frosting was from a can! On occasion I would attempt to decorate the cake with less-than-amateur flowers and words.

Thank goodness for my mother's unconditional love as she embraced those sweet moments. She  displayed surprise and appreciation for each birthday masterpiece, plus the mess I left in the kitchen!