Last year, all I wanted for Nick and my birthday was cake… but not just any cake. I wanted our cake.

Have you ever heard a kid saying they want a toy or that they won’t go to bed without something, so they scream or cry until you find it? Maybe you tried to remedy it with a different bear or a different blanket, but that kid knew. Instead, they screamed or cried more because they wanted “my” bear or “my” blanket.

In a way, cake became a bit like that for me. It’s not that I would throw a tantrum without it, don’t worry, but it always signified a special moment. Last year, however, Costco stopped doing their sheet cakes due to the pandemic. With Costco cakes, they had a few designs that they could add on top, the same filling options as always, and they never spelled my name wrong. Spelling my name right was key, it’s much more fun to eat my name in frosting when spelled correctly… it’s the little things that count. 

Not only have Nick and I spent our birthday together every year, but per tradition, we’ve had a cake to share with family and friends. And every time, our names have been in the same order while we lived in the same zip code and, except freshman year, under the same roof. That year we got two cakes to share with dorm mates.

So, what’s with the cake, why does it matter now you might be asking?

Well, because it’s all about tradition and being used to something. Finding something special in what my parents chose out of convenience a few times before it quickly became a thing. I mean, a cake is no big deal really but what it signifies is special to me.

Because this year, I ate my name through the cake and Nick ate his. As a family, we all shared the soft layered sugar knowing that we’ve had 23 good years of Nick and I celebrating birthdays together. 

road through the forest splitting into crossroads
Photo by Tom Parsons on Unsplash

Right now, Nick is moving into a new apartment in Iowa for his new job that starts on Monday. In the dorms, we lived less than a mile away from one another on the same campus and all the other years of our lives, we’ve lived under the same roof. This time it’s go big or go home, except that home for each of us is two different places and though this is new, it can be a good change if we make it one. As for my parents, they are stuck with just me under their roof for a couple more months.

These are exciting times as we, “the twins” start new journeys down paths that are no longer so close to one another. I’ll be heading into something new quite soon too and at that point, I’m sure there will be lots to talk about as I level up in my adulting skills.

For now, I will miss knowing I can share a cake with the same person in the same place every year. Instead, maybe next year I’ll find a way to buy my own cake, write his name on it, and this time I’ll eat it myself.

If any of you have special traditions, even small things that stuck, on your birthdays, feel free to share them. Otherwise, April has been National Poetry Month, so I hope you got some poetry reading in! Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you have a good weekend, stay safe and I’ll see you next week.

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