Throughout the years I have marked my twin daughters' birthdays and other milestones in their lives with cake. I had one waiting for them when they got home after the first day of their freshman year in high school and, in keeping with tradition, they were greeted by me and a cake after the first day of their senior year this past August.
Fast-forward to February 2017, and their final months as seniors. They had both been accepted to three of the four colleges to which they had applied and anxiously awaited the 6 p.m. Feb. 10 decision from their dream school, the one they envisioned themselves attending since they were about 11. We had joked for weeks about getting a custom-designed cake that would represent all four schools. They told me they would let me know where they would be going (they planned to check the online decision in private) by cutting the piece of cake that represented the school.
As time passed, they sort of forgot about that idea. But I didn't. I placed an order at a local bakery for two small congratulatory cakes — one for each of them — with the colors of all four prospective colleges. When I picked up the cakes the morning of Feb. 10, Decision Day, my heart sank. The cakes were decorated differently. One was heavy on the orange and blue, the other garnet and gold. (I had to turn Cake No. 2 around to even find the orange and blue.) Could this be foreshadowing? Did the cake decorator know something I didn't? Nonsense, right?
By about 6:15 p.m., we had learned that one daughter was in and the other was out. Bittersweet feelings flooded the kitchen. Tears flowed. Cake was consumed. Weeks passed. In early March, when our emotions were less raw and we were able to more fully celebrate, I presented "dream school" daughter with a small congratulatory cake, which the three of us enjoyed equally.
We'll soon share one final congratulatory cake in our kitchen. The daughter who was once out learned last week that she has been granted admission. My girls will start college in the fall, and yes, there will be cake. And it will taste that much sweeter because we'll be sharing it in their dorm room.
Dawn Cate, Times staff writer