ugly barbie

Can you see her? The beautiful fairy princess who is trudging through the chocolately remains of birthday cake to great my 3-year-old in the morning? 
I was going to make a beautiful Bundt cake, chocolate of course. It’s her favorite. And I was going to coat it with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, highlighting the beautiful pattern that is in my Bundt pan. It was going to glisten, toped with pink flowers, a sophisticated girly cake for my baby, my only daughter, my long-legged little princess. 
But I forgot the damn Bundt pan sticks. I turned that lovely mint chocolate cake over on to the stand and it fell all apart. 
I walked away. I sat and wrote. I reflected on life and relationships, and disappointment and hope. 
I came back with new enthusiasm. I would rebuild the cake. I would change my plan. I would get creative. I would make something even more wonderful and beautiful and amazing. So I unwrapped the butterfly Barbie I’d bought. I began to create. Not a complex frosting design. Just simple and thick enough to cover the evidence of a collapsed Bundt base. I wrote in my mind as I worked, about new beginnings, about taking disappointment and transforming it into something new and better. My heart soared as I edged chocolately goodness carefully around fairy wings. I scooted the stand back to take a picture. The cake collapsed again. So did my metaphor. 
While sucking the icing off of Barbie’s wings, I considered my options: go to the store and buy all the ingredients to make a new triple mint chocolate cake, or dump the whole thing in a trifle bowl. I picked the trifle bowl. And I know what you are really wondering is why it took a whole hour to come up with that brilliant plan. Answer number one is that there was a lot of icing on the wings. Answer number two is that I had to drive to my mom’s house to get my trifle bowl. 

Now I have a new life metaphor: Just because a good life collapses, you don’t need to throw it out and start all over. And you probably shouldn’t waste your time trying to rebuild it into something more beautiful either. Dump it all in a trifle bowl; you’ll save a lot of time and it’ll stop sliding all around. And truth be told, if you lubricate it with enough chocolate and sparkles it’ll be better than most. 

Do you see her? Do you see where Barbie sits, waiting for my daughter to wake up and ask the inevitable question, “mommy, why is there a Barbie in my birthday cake?” 


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