“Mom! I know what kind of cake I want for my birthday,” James announced as he burst into the back yard where Mom was blowing up balloons for his birthday party.
“Is it chocolate cake from Big Mama’s Famous Bakery? Because that’s what you’re getting.”
James stopped short, looking crestfallen. “You’re not baking my birthday cake?”
“Honey, I told you, if you wanted me to make your cake for you, you had to let me know in advance so I would have time to get the ingredients and make it before your party. As it is, I barely had time to pick up the cake on my way back from the office.”
“But it’s my birthday.”
“Yes, and you’ve known for a long time now when your birthday is, so you knew you had to tell me what you wanted by the end of the week last week if you wanted a homemade cake.”
“But I didn’t know what I wanted last week.”
“So, you’re getting the cake from Big Mama’s.” She looked down at his protruding lower lip and big eyes and willed herself to be strong enough to resist. “Come on, you love Big Mama’s.”
“But it won’t be made with love,” he said softly.
Mom deflated. That was the trump card and James knew it. It was so unfair of him to use it against her when she had tried so hard to make sure everything was perfect for his party. “What do you want me to do, James? The party starts in less than an hour, and you know it takes longer than that to make a cake.”
“What if we had Big Mama’s cake at the party and then you make a cake just for us?”
“You want two birthday cakes?”
James nodded, grinning.
“Then you’ll want two birthday cakes every year. And everyone else will expect two birthday cakes.”
“Nope. Just this once. Cross my heart.” He made an X over his heart with one finger.
James nodded solemnly.
Mom sighed. “All right. Just this once!” She held up one finger for emphasis and James nodded again. “Next year, if you don’t tell me what you want, I’ll make whatever I want to eat for your birthday.”
James giggled. “OK.”
“And you only get one piece of cake today. Any leftovers go home with the guests because we are not having two cakes in this house.”
But James ended up eating four pieces of cake at his party and getting so sick he didn’t even want the cake Mom made for him the next day. Mom ate it by herself, not even bothering to cut off a piece before digging in with her fork.