Every February when we visit my snowbirding parents in Florida, we celebrate my daughter’s March birthday. It’s a win-win for everyone: my parents don’t feel guilty for missing her actual party, and my daughter gets to celebrate her birthday twice.
So the birthday girl and my mother bake a lopsided, four-layer Duncan Hines tower and decorate it with goopy frosting, rainbow sprinkles and those princess shapes that feel like Braille and taste like a cross between sugar cane and a wooden cane. (This is one shining example of the objective being the process rather than the end result.)
My son struts around to every person lounging by the pool to invite them to come on over and eat some delicious cake for his sister’s birthday. The young and old join us in singing happy birthday and partaking in the sugar overload, graciously complimenting my daughter on her cake baking skills.
But there is a grandma. And I want to strangle her.
She arrives a few minutes after the crowd has dispersed, strolling her granddaughter who is contentedly sucking on a bottle. The baby’s mom, grandma announces, is taking a nap. Grandma is in charge. My mother offers her some cake and she laughs, saying in a mocking tone that her granddaughter (who is under two years old) has never had cake before! That Mommy has her on an organic diet and (gasp!) she doesn’t have sugar either! Can you believe such a thing?! This will be fun for her granddaughter to finally have some cake!
I butt in. I immediately go to Mommy’s defense, even if she isn’t there. “Maybe that’s not a great idea,” I caution. “You know, since it would be her first time having sugar. This cake is really, a LOT of sugar.”
“Nonsense,” she waves at me. “She’ll be fine. And we won’t tell her mom.”
Oh, great idea.
I don’t want to be around when baby girl’s head spins around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. So I walk away. But I’m pissed. How rude of Grandma to ridicule her daughter’s choices. And a bit irresponsible too, right? What if baby girl has some kind of reaction, allergic or otherwise?
Do you think Grandma was justified in her decision to indulge her granddaughter? How would you feel if you were the absent mom in this situation? Has this scenario happened to you?