Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cake Calamities and Clematis

When I hadn’t posted my blog all day, my dad emailed and my husband came home early from work. They feared the worst. I was baking my famous sponge cake. Honestly, it was not my fault this time. In a World Cup Soccer moment, my twenty-year-old cake mixer took a dive when the ref wasn’t watching.

I dropped my book (okay, maybe I shouldn’t have been reading) and raced the dog to the batter that had splattered on the floor. “If you want to bake a cake, you have to break some eggs.” In my case, two batches. My apologies to the neighbors, who may have passed by the screen door. I don’t usually swear like a fish wife.

The birthday girl poked her head in to ask, "Is it safe?"  No glass shards this time. I am now the mother of two teenagers. The older one is canoeing for 7 weeks in the wilderness so the more recently minted teen is an only child this month. As much as I’m missing my son, I’m really enjoying the one-on-one time with my daughter.

I’m sure many parents would disagree, but teenagers are more fun than younger children. It’s the age of both reflection and impulsive choices, of maturing into a unique person. I love the intense discussions and even the questioning. You don’t get unconditional love; you have to earn it.

Although it was her birthday, my 13-year-old daughter gave me a wonderful gift. She first said people over 35 can’t be cool, but then she made a few exceptions. According to her I’m a “cool mom.” The reason is “I don’t try.”


Our cool day in Brunswick, Maine:



Romance in Tuscany with a Shakespeare theme. What’s not to love?

As for the images, they are of our clematis that usually peaks on my daughter’s birthday, but this year was 2 weeks early. Every year the roots grow deeper, the vine climbs higher and the blooms are more exuberant. Just like my beautiful daughter.


What else is blooming in my garden: late lupines, hydrangea, lilies, pansies, lobelia and yummy Early Bird and Cherry Tomatoes. For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts go to May Dreams Garden. I’ll come visit tomorrow while my daughter is at her first paid babysitting job. Don’t blink. They grow up fast.

32 comments:

Donna said...

Sorry about the big spill...that would have made me lose it too! What a nice post this is. Sounds like your summer is going well. Your daughter is lucky to have you for a mom!

lakeviewer said...

Cool! A clematis that keeps on growing, and a daughter who thinks you are cool because you don't try to be: priceless!

lakeviewer said...

p.s. I was a middle school principal because my favorite age to teach/direct is the young teenagers. They are sparkle and muscle all the time.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Happy Happy Birthday to your girl!! Sounds like you had the best sort of day.

The cake baking sounds kinda funny!!

Bonnie said...

Such a heart-warming post Sarah. There's no greater gift a teen can have than knowing they are treasured because of their complexity. Loved the link you made between the beloved, growing clematis and your daughter. And how wise she is - it is pitiful to see these parents who try too hard to be cool and just end up embarrassing their children.

I may be lurking in the next week or two - but am taking some time off from posting and commenting.

I envy you your frequent visits to Maine. All the cells in my body demand a visit there this time of year.

Sarah Laurence said...

Donna, it has been a good summer. I haven’t spent too much time in the hot kitchen other than preparing salads or scooping frozen yogurt.

Lakeviewer, those middle schoolers were lucky to have you as your principal. I should add that I’ve really enjoyed the tween as well as the teen years.

Pamela, it was laugh or cry so I chose the former. My daughter pointed out that it’s good to have a blog for all the stuff that goes wrong.

Bonnie, my daughter is wise beyond her years. A friend thought she was turning 15 or 16. This would not have been a good month to visit Maine with our heat/humidity wave, so untypical for Maine. Both of my beach days were fog bound. I still love it here in the summer. August tends to best for weather and slightly warmer water.

tina said...

Hi Sarah, I hope you finally got the cake baked and tell the new teen a very Happy Birthday for us! Clematis looks great.

Tracy said...

Is your clematis Jackmanii? I have that climbing up our front railing and it looks and sounds like yours. I completely agree about loving the teen years. It certainly has it's challenges, but so far it's my favorite. You can talk to them as adults, they still need us, yet are becoming independent. It is also bittersweet because before we know it, they'll be out on their own. Ours are 17, 16 and 14. Sorry to hear about your cake catastrophe! It did make me laugh though.

David Cranmer said...

My charmer and I will be watching LETTERS TO JULIET. Guaranteed.

Sarah Laurence said...

Tina, thanks!

Tracy, welcome to my blog and thanks for trying to ID my clematis. I don’t know its name because it was a house-warming gift 8 years ago. Two couples gave us clematis and only one survived. On the cake – laughter beats tears.

David, enjoy – Letters to Juliet was very romantic if a bit predictable. The cinematography was gorgeous.

Rose said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! What a lovely analogy between your daughter and your clematis, which is beautiful, by the way. Enjoy these early teen years--they do pass by so quickly, and then they're off to college and you find yourself longing again for those days of teenage drama.

Sorry about your sponge cake, but I do find dogs can be useful in such accidents:) Can't wait to see "Letters from Juliet"!

A Cuban In London said...

Hahaha! I loved your daughter philosophical analysis: 'you don't try'. But she's right. Today I dropped my son off at school because he's going to France and there were a couple of parents (fathers) trying to 'be cool' and looking ridiculous instead. Sorry about your accident. And happy birthday to your daughter! :-)

Greetings from London.

Les said...

Please enjoy the fact that you are a "cool mom". At them moment I am either considered a freak of nature, invisible or a complete pain in the ass.

Sarah Laurence said...

Rose, I notice how the gap between high school and college is closing since my husband teaches at a college, and we live near a dorm. Enjoy Juliet!

ACIL, my daughter likes to quote the movie Mean Girls in which Regina’s mom announces, “I’m a cool mom!” Her teen queen daughter tells her to shut up.

Les, my almost 16-year-old son usually ignores me. If he thinks I’m cool (which he probably doesn’t) it would only because I can program a computer, went to MIT and backpacked in the wilderness. As parents it’s our job to be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Sarah

Hope your daughter will have a very "Happy Birthday" and the flowers are so beautiful!

Have a great week-end.

Best
Tracy :)

cynthia newberry martin said...

I enjoyed the glimpse into your life this week--spilled cakes, birthdays, cool summer days and gorgeous flowers. And that movie looks fun.

Shauna said...

Oh, bummer on the mixer! Happy birthday to your girl.

Dawn Maria said...

I agree that the teen years are unique. We're going through a bit of a rough patch at our house with our older son, but I love how much more I'm able to say and do now that my sons are older.

Next weekend my 17 yr. old & a friend will join me in San Diego for Comic-Con. It will be a well-deserved break from revising my novel and a great time to connect through geeky interests.

troutbirder said...

What fun. These are the best years. Clematis. What a beautiful analogy....
I hope, somehow I can read about that canoe trip. My two sons and I did many canoe trips into the Boundary Water Wilderness. I would have taken a daughter as well, if I'd had one. :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Tracy, thank you!

Cynthia, the movie was a bit sappy but lots of fun. It didn’t take itself too seriously.

Shauna, thanks!

Dawn Maria, you are right to point out that there are ups and downs to life with teens. Good luck with your revisions.

Troutbirder, I will pump my son for details when he returns and share it with blog readers if he’s willing. Sadly, he did not want to take a camera. I can imagine the appeal of living in the moment. My daughter is less of a wilderness adventurer, although she spent 3 hours today boogie boarding and bodysurfing with a friend. It was a perfect beach day. I swam, walked and read.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Sounds like a lovely day! Enjoy your time with your daughter.

Amanda said...

hello sarah,

i've found my way to your blog via a couple wonderful folks i've met in this new blogworld, including rosaria.

i enjoyed this post and sympathize with you on kids growing up so fast. i was just at this phase and you are correct - don't blink!! enjoy your time with your daughter this summer -- and how wonderful that she thinks you're cool - sounds like a relationship with deep roots.

nice to 'meet' you and i look forward to returning to explore your lovely blog some more.

Sarah Laurence said...

Alyssa, it’s the last week before my daughter goes to camp and we’re trying to make the most of it. Iced decaf lattes (now that she’s decided that 13 is too old for hot cocoa) and farmers’ market will feature today.

Amanda, welcome to my blog – yes we do have some friends in common. I’m delighted to connect with you. I look forward to learning more about Greece.

Keri Mikulski said...

What a wonderful day.. I'm with you - love the teens. :) Happy Birthday to your daughter. :) :)

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Happy birthday to your newly minted teen! I agree, these are interesting years.

Mama Shujaa said...

You kept a smile on my face as I read this entire post. I can relate to the no 'unconditional love' part completely. :-)
What a fun, lively post, I felt like I was right there in your kitchen!!! Multi-tasking were you?

Happy belated birthday to your lovely daughter!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Yes, thirteen is flying by and you know it! It seems my girl was just that age but now, she is going off to college. I thought about it, I planned for it, I intended to be prepared for it, but now that it's here, I'm feeling a bit shaky. I'm going up your way in a few weeks to send her off. I know she will love the college experience. It's selfish of me to want anything different. We spend a lot of time together. She's my buddy. Sigh.
It's wonderful to have a thriving garden and a thriving family, Sarah. I just love the purple. I sometimes read when I cook too!

Sarah Laurence said...

Keri, my daughter was very pleased to get birthday wishes from a YA author.

JAPRA, you seem to be enjoying the teen years too.

Mama Shujaa, one bit I left out was my daughter’s comment after the mixer accident, “At least you can blog about it.” I love that teen sense of humor. Yes, I’m a pathological multi-tasker.

Cynthia P, best wishes to your daughter at college and for you in the transition. Good to hear I’m not the only reading cook.

Bee said...

That day sounds pretty perfect.

Your clematis metaphor is lovely . . . as is the flower itself.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee, it’s a perfect day to remember while I’m missing my daughter at camp (4 weeks!)

Carol said...

Your cake story had me smiling widely ... and it sounds sweet to have the one on one with your daughter over her bday. I love the trailer ... Letters to J. ... I will have to see it! Beautiful Clematis photo. How cool can it be to have a teenage daughter who thinks you are naturally cool. ;>)

Sarah Laurence said...

Carol, my life has its ups and downs. It made me smile to read your reaction, thanks. It's nice to connect with you again. I think the last time was through gardening or turning leaves.