A few years ago, a friend asked me to make a Mickey Mouse cake for a surprise party. After I got my two preschoolers to bed, I drew Mickey freehand onto the cake. Since I am no artist, this took several tries. Not fun to start off that way, but I kept going. I filled in the icing colors and asked Hubby what he thought. It’s never good when he pauses for a while before he can think of something to say. He finally said, “I didn’t realize Mickey was so … tan.”

“What?” I took another look. Sadly, Mickey did look as though he’d spent a month or two in a tanning bed turned too high. I tried to put on a happy face. “Maybe Mickey likes to vacation on the Mediterranean.”

I didn’t buy that any more than he did, so I scraped off the icing and started again. The second Mickey looked as though he had a Coppertone addiction. So I scraped and started over (and over) until I wound up with a pretty cute cake.

However, the next day — the day of the party and just before my friend came to pick up the cake — Mickey suffered an accident in the form of a Labrador retriever with a penchant for sweets.

And that’s not the end of the story, either. When my friend came to get the redone cake, she picked it up and Mickey slid right into the extra large part of her located above her stomach and between her arms. So, I had to repair two big dents along the edge.

I almost swore off cake decorating that day, but the birthday girl was so thrilled that it made the whole ordeal worthwhile. It also taught me a lesson about life and motherhood. Things don’t always turn out the way I planned. Sometimes life is messy, especially in this house. My children and I often get things wrong and have to start over. Sometimes we have to work with less than ideal circumstances, and sometimes problems (like certain dogs) devour my hard work. Sometimes I have to clean crayon and worse things off the wall. But in the end, I can always see that life is sweet. And it’s worth it.