I had a short essay about birthdays, cakes, and the ways in which our childhoods influence our parenting featured at Brain Child last week. You can read the rest of it here, if you'd like.
On the eve of my eighth birthday, my family gathered in my grandparents’ kitchen, preparing a late-summer dinner. My grandmother stood at the white formica counter and molded hamburger into patties. My aunts sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. My mother sat on a chair beneath the antique school house clock and shucked corn. I leaned on the gleaming oak pedestal table, restless with anticipation of the meal, the cake that would follow, the presents. And then my mom, buried under corn husks, pressed her hand to the side of her lap, which had grown round and unwelcoming in recent months, and announced that it was time.