Birthdays and Purple Party Cakes

purple buttercream party cake - coco cake land

In our rainy neck of the woods, November is a dark month. Daylight evaporates by 5pm and when the air isn’t chilly buns cold, we are pelted with rain which sometimes feels as though it may never end. While Vancouver is postcard-beautiful (from the outside, anyway) on a sun filled day, the constant wet weather can drown you. Guns n Roses basically got it right when Axl howled “cold November Rain”. November is the month my father-in-law died suddenly, 5 years ago. November is also my birthday month. Goth from the womb, I must’ve been born on a rainy day. I feel like a ghost this year. Like the last year went by both incredibly slow, during my painful days of chemo, and exceedingly fast – here I am, about to turn 39. That is a crazy number to me, only because I feel my 30s went by in a lightning flash. I don’t feel “39”, but I’m not sure what 39 is meant to feel like? To an older person, it’s a young number; to a teen, it’s ancient. I don’t think I feel fundamentally different than I did when I turned 29, although when I turned 29 I fretted away that I was getting old. And now, a decade went by like a weekend.

purple buttercream party cake

Having cancer has changed me, but maybe not as much as I thought it would. I don’t know if this is because sometimes, thinking of myself as a cancer survivor is surreal to me – I had cancer? Days, weeks, months went by, almost a year. Everyone is back to doing their daily things, and I’m expected to roll into living life once again too. The blog world continues to turn over constantly, seasonality marked by a flood of holiday recipes and flavours and I’m trying to care about it again but sometimes it’s overwhelming and too much. Cancer has made me slow down when my old self was a fast-moving, immediacy-thirsty person. Patience with myself, my abilities, and trying to get through some days without feeling slumped-over blue. A book helps. My mindful meditation podcast helps. The body heals – it wants us to survive, it does everything in its power to help us heal. The mind carries the scars.

rainbow cake slice - coco cake land

As we age, do we ever feel different, or actually old? It’s an odd feeling to see the exterior of our physical selves grow, change, wrinkle, sag. Like I never imagined I would look down and my hands might look exactly as I remember my mom’s hands when I was a child – wrinkly knuckles and long fingers with an E.T.-ish quality (although I don’t recall my mom having hairy fingers like I do. DAD!!) You tend to imagine you’ll be 25 forever, or whatever the magical age is. I liked 31-33, personally. I look back at photos from that time period and my body is much more fit than I ever gave it credit for; my skin looks finely oiled, lipstick and bangs, pre-baby body. We women are duly hard on ourselves! So now my body looks quite different, but I stop to appreciate it. Like sometimes I just can’t believe I’m still alive. It’s a feeling I’m sure I’ll be processing til the end of my days. xo Lyndsay 

9 Responses to “Birthdays and Purple Party Cakes”

  1. Tracey Henderson

    I’m sorry about the way you’ve had to learn some life lessons, but thank you so much for this lovely reflection. I especially like your observation that our body wants us to survive.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thank you for reading tracey! i do feel like the little armies within the body prepare to fight when shit goes down. like i am still amazed at the thick sprouting of hair that has come back since my bald chemo days – regrowth, regeneration on a fundamental level!

  2. anne

    nicely done. blessings on you in your birth month! as to age, well, heck yes, we want each and ever blessed year, please and thank you :)

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thank you anne! if it’s one thing i’ve learned through going through cancer treatment – every birthday candle is well earned. xo

  3. jaime | the briny

    this —

    “I never imagined I would look down and my hands might look exactly as I remember my mom’s hands when I was a child – wrinkly knuckles and long fingers with an E.T.-ish quality (although I don’t recall my mom having hairy fingers like I do. DAD!!)”

    –is so spot on, and the DAD!!! at the end made me bust a chuckle. when i take in your writing and your story, i’m left feeling like i want to reach out and tell you how much it resonates and how much i appreciate, and at the same time, i’m left with far fewer words than feelings. at least i can express this: that i thank you so much for what you share with all of us sitting on the other side of screens everywhere, and that i wish you the happiest of days. xo

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thank you jaime for writing – this happens to me often, too – i’ll be reading something and just want to contact the writer or leave a comment. sometimes i don’t comment but i should do it more often… it’s nice to know the words reach a friendly few! xo

  4. steph

    a lil late to the party but wishing you the best for this year. soon we will eat chicken wings and soft serve (maybe even together?!)

    cheers to birthdays, to growing wiser, to making ever more memories.

    happy birthday dear friend!


  5. Emilie

    Damn, you are such a strong person !
    Your text gave me tears…But they disappeared as soon as I continued reading your gorgeous cake recipes.
    Much love from France !

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Merci, Emilie! xoxo

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