Sugar and Spice

My mom knew me better than I’ll ever know.

Today is my first birthday without my mom calling and singing to me. I’ll admit I didn’t realize that this was hard until last month when I called my sister for her birthday. I started to sing happy birthday and then I couldn’t. I got out the first two words and then turned it into my greeting. We had a good talk as she was getting ready to spend the day with her family at the beach.

But the whole time we were talking I just kept thinking, “I’m sorry I’m not her, I wish I could give her to you for today, for this one phone call. I’m so sorry I’m not mom.”

In the following six weeks I have dreaded this day. I have wondered how on earth I will make it through the whole day without her voice, without her laugh. I knew that today is also a Tuesday, so there will be regular Tuesday things to do like teaching, gardening, sewing. But today is also the third Tuesday of this month which means tonight is the Gateway West Gesneriad Society meeting (this is a local plant group I joined last year), and this month I signed up to bring a snack.

Mom taught me at least as much about cooking and baking as she did about sewing. It was about 11 years ago I went to visit mom and dad and she had a few recipes picked out that she wanted to try. One was for this spicy apple cake. She always encouraged my love of spices and was spot on about this cake!


This is the same recipe, copied from a magazine. One this same piece of copy paper are two other recipes we tried on that visit. I decided to make this cake to take to the meeting this evening as a way to do something special with my mom today. I know this is very sentimental of me, yet if ever there were a day for sentimentality today is it.


Is there anything as nice as a diversity of spice?


Look at all those apples!


I let to sauce cool while the cake continues to bake. The chipotle caramel sauce is what makes this cake addictive and dangerous to have in the house.


Thankfully so far this day has been good. My dad sang to me, my husband surprised me with a new spice cabinet unlike any I’ve seen so far, dear friends and family have texted and called and sent their love. Having people in my life who love me is the best gift of all.

So Mom, I miss you. I love you and I am so grateful for all the gifts you gave me throughout our time together. Including today.

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