“Could we sign up for a cake decorating class on Saturdays?” This came from my fourteen-year-old daughter as I stood at the sink up to my elbows in dirty dishes. I paused.

The last thing I wanted to do was give up my Saturdays. I was already losing the war with dog hair and dirty clothes. Our house at the moment looked like a bomb had gone off, with the chaos of human debris about to smother us all.

“How much will it cost?” I asked. Followed by, “How many Saturdays?”

Her answer was less than thrilling. We would be spending three hours every Saturday for the next six weeks plus the cost of the class and the enormous amount of supplies.

But we signed up.

My epiphany on that first Saturday: I don’t have an ounce of talent as a cake decorator.

Over the next six weeks, Brittainy and I hung in there, attempting to mix Royal Icing the exact consistency so our petals didn’t look like sad clumps of mistake. The instructor would pass by each table, pausing to comment on everyone’s effort.

Nice touch! Beautiful technique with that fondant.

Love what you did with those marzipan petals!

When she passed by our table there was kind hesitation. Good try ladies, let’s keep working on that. Brittainy and I were the remedial table.

Over the weeks, our icing technique didn’t change for the better but something else did. Somewhere between our lopsided layers and piping that looked like it had been applied by drunken sailors, our perspectives began to shift. She saw a relaxed mom who squirted more icing in her mouth than ever landed on the cake and laughed so hard it came out her nose. I saw a daughter with a delightful smile and a fierce determination who never gave up. It looked good on both of us.

If I could rewind back to that moment at the sink, I would like to think my first words would be different. My fourteen year old wanted to hang out with me on a Saturday? My only answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” I had a daughter in middle school who needed to know she was more important than an inconvenience of time or money. Those Saturdays gave us a chance to team up in our equal imperfection, just her and me. It set the stage for the chance to talk about the rollercoaster of relationships and how boys just say goofy things sometimes. It gave me the just-right moment to admit that I hid in my junior high school bathroom and cried because a boy had called me a fat-face. Brittainy began to see me as an ally not the exasperated, too-busy-to-talk mom I often portrayed. One Saturday, as we ate Chick-Fil-A on the car ride home, we even got the chance to talk about how God saw her everyday moments and cared about every one of them.

What I know now is that those moments don’t come along very often and they are incredibly easy to miss.

Did those lessons open up a lifetime of cake decorating for either one of us? No way!

Was it the best six weeks I’ve ever spent as a parent? You bet.