In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Wilton employees to share some special memories and stories. For many of us, our moms – or someone who is like a mom to us – piqued our interest in baking. Who did you learn from? What special memories do you have? Or, are you a mom who enjoys baking with her kids? In this series, we will feature a different story each day. We hope you enjoy reading the stories of those who chose to share their MOMent!
Have you ever wondered why our memories are so powerful? A single smell can take us back to eating warm chocolate chip cookies mom just took from the oven. A color can remind us of that horrible shirt our mom made us wear for picture day in 7th grade. A hand holding ours reminds us of mom holding us in busy stores so we would feel safe and loved. Whatever the reason, memories help shape who we become. As a mom, I want to bake cookies for my kids, so they too can experience the pleasure of eating a warm chocolate chip cookie made especially for them. I hold their hands and snuggle with them as often as they allow, but many days they are beyond that age. I can even understand why mom wanted me to wear that shirt now, she thought it looked nice on me and I could only notice it was the wrong “style” for me to fit in at school.
My childhood memories may not always feature my mom as the star, but she is always there in some capacity. My mom was not one who thrived on being in the limelight, she much preferred being in the background making sure we were loved and cared for. I grew up on a farm in a rural area of the Midwest where many of the roads are still unpaved gravel. When I was little, believe it or not, it was cheaper to bake from scratch than to buy a boxed mix. Fresh eggs and milk were always available and my mom used them to gift us with amazing goodies that still trigger a lovely walk down memory lane. Every meal ended with a bite of something sweet. We were all so very active, calories were not a concern. A cookie, piece of cake, slice of pie or other sweet tidbit was always available. My mom let me bake with her from a very early age. So early, I don’t remember not baking with her by my side and eventually she would stand back and watch with pride as I finished my latest creation. She exclaimed with delight over the 3 layer cake I made for my parent’s 15th wedding anniversary. I was 13, and all I can say is it was baked with a lot of love and patched together with a lot of buttercream… lots and lots of buttercream. Not once did she complain it was too sweet. She said it was the best cake she had ever tasted.
Every year, my mom would make us a birthday cake. It was always a different theme, and we never got to “choose our cake” but she would reveal it to us at our birthday dinner. My mom never took lessons on decorating cakes, but I remember a few Wilton gel colors in the cabinets and she got creative with everything else she used as she didn’t have the supplies, so readily available now, at her disposal. When I made my oldest son’s first birthday cake, I looked at my mom and finally understood. I understood why she would work so hard to make our cakes, staying up late and missing sleep. I saw the way my son’s eyes lit up with joy and eagerness and I knew I would do it again and again as long as it brought him joy. It was that moment I finally understood my mom and why she was always content to be in the background. Being in the background didn’t mean she was left out. It meant she had the perfect view of what made her happiest, the look of delight on her children’s faces. Many pictures of my birthday cakes don’t include my mom. I feel a bit sad about this as she is gone now. But then I remember, she isn’t in the picture because she is the one behind the lens smiling at me as everyone sings Happy Birthday. The memory of her smile as she takes the photo is one I will always treasure.