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The Evolution of a Birthday Cake! (a choose-your-own-ending story)

This story could end in so many ways that I decided to let you choose the message you want to walk away with:-) So, here goes...

My daughter has so many food allergies that life has been quite an adventure on the culinary front. Dairy, soy, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, lentils, beans, ginger, garlic, potatoes, spices, coconut, peas, kiwi-- you get the idea. This made it challenging to find birthday cakes she could be around, let alone eat. And yet, we celebrated her birthday every single year with great gusto; she was our favorite person in the whole wide world after all:-) Here is a look at how things evolved:

No Cake

Phase 1: The "No-Cake" Cake.

Yup, that's right. We decided just because she couldn't have cake did not mean she could not blow out candles and make her wishes. At this stage, we usually planned for a short fun activity for all the kids to do, (e.g., Gymboree) and sent cupcakes home in the goody bags for our guests.

Watermelon Cake

Phase 2: The Watermelon Cake.

It is amazing how well a watermelon works for holding candles and for slicing. Later on, I got much better at carving fancy designs on top of them to make them much more decorative. Wish I could find that photo. At this stage, we let the parents know ahead of time that there would be only fruits and fruit juices served at her party so they all fed their kids really well before sending them to the party. We added a lot of running around games in sunny California and voila! before you knew it, the kids were fighting over the watermelon:-)

The Cake with the Attractive Theme and Toys

Phase 3: The Cake with the Attractive Theme and Toys:

So, by now, my daughter was old enough to understand about her allergies and had no wish to eat anything that made her sick, no matter who else was eating it. So, we did get more "real" cakes. Though she could not eat the cakes, we made them meaningful to her in other ways. We had themes she really was into and added fun message and keepsakes that she could collect.

Homemade Cakes

Phase 4: The Homemade Cakes!

Finally! No, her allergies did not resolve. BUT mom did evolve as a baker. I learned to make egg free, wheat free, dairy free, soy free, nut free cakes that were actually yummy! Now we could all "break cake" together so to speak. (Side note: If you are dealing with food allergies and want some resources for recipes, message me. I am more than happy to share my favorite recipes and resources with you.)

The Full Package

Phase 5: The Full Package

The fancy homemade cake, with the cool theme, message and keepsakes!

The point of this story is (choose-your-own-ending):

1. "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." --John Wooden.

This is a huge piece in coaching. Tapping into your strengths, interests, motivators, successes, support systems, resources etc. to leverage what you have and what you can do to solve your problems and reach your goals.

2. "When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back and let the world wonder how you did it." --credit

This one really speaks to tapping into our innate curiosity and creativity to find answers. And the ability to see possibilities and envision something different for yourself. Think outside the box...Wait, what box?

3. “The only limits you have are the limits you believe.” Wayne Dyer

Identifying limiting beliefs and replacing the ones that are not serving you well are a key process in coaching. "This is the way it should be done." "There is no other way." "That will never work." "Everyone will think we are weird." All these thoughts did cross my mind as a parent. If you come across these kind of thought patterns that hold you back, try replacing them with, "There is always a way." "Most people will understand." "There is no one right way to do things."

I'd love to hear which ending spoke to you the most. Please leave a comment or share a story.

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