DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter from "New Mom in Ohio," concerning whether she should allow her mother-in-law to decorate the cake for her child's first birthday, I fought back tears. I lost my beloved mother-in-law two years ago. How I wish she was still here to thrill us with her creative cakes.
Each year she would plan a theme cake for my husband, depicting the major events of the last year. The whole family waited and speculated on what the cake would be like. I was blessed to be part of the secret, and we would hunt for the perfect things to put on the cake. The fun we shared is something I will treasure forever.
When we are young, we think we have many years to share with our parents. Don't be fooled. Time goes by too fast to quibble over who bakes a cake! Join the fun, love this special person, and let her honor you and your family with her cakes for years to come. -– MISSING HER IN HURON, OHIO
DEAR MISSING HER: I agree, but not everyone did. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: While the mother-in-law may be great at baking, it's not how the cake looks but the joy a new mom gets to experience in making it. I'm sure the mother-in-law didn't ask her husband's mother to make hers when she first had children.
This mom wants to make her child's cake. No one should deny her that privilege. If her mother-in-law really cared about her, she would understand and not cause a problem. Recently I was watching some old videos with my daughters, now 12 and 8, and when my 12-year-old saw her first birthday cake, she thought it was so pretty she asked where I bought it. Even at 12, she was happy to know I cared enough to take the time to make it myself. Please tell "New Mom" there's nothing wrong with her making the cake and not to feel guilty. This is her time, not her mother-in-law's. -– LOVE BEING A MOM, JACKSON, TENN.
DEAR LOVE BEING A MOM: I know you speak for many young mothers. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I have a compromise: In our circle we always let the babies have a cake of their own to dig into and make a huge mess on their first birthday. It's so much fun. Perhaps "New Mom" could make a smaller cake for the baby to dive into, and Grandma's cake can be for the guests to enjoy. Baby can pose for pictures with both, and everyone will be happy. A first birthday is very special for a new mom, so the more cakes, the merrier! -– DAWN IN RIVERSIDE, N.J.
DEAR DAWN: I like your style. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The first year we were married I took both of our families on a Saturday to a local ice cream parlor to celebrate my husband's birthday. On the day of his actual birthday, I made a cake and planned a dinner just for the two of us. Lo and behold, who comes knocking on our door but my in-laws with a cake my mother-in-law had baked. To make matters worse, my husband had a piece of her cake and none of mine. I was devastated and let him know it after they left.
Now we laugh about it and I say, "Anytime someone else wants to cook –- go for it!" Your advice was correct, Abby. There are more important things to agonize over. This too shall pass. –- NO LONGER A BRIDE IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR N.L.A. BRIDE: If there's anything I have learned from this series of letters, it's not the cake that's important, but what it symbolizes -– and it means different things to different people.