I had a bizarre experience today. I was upstairs working on my computer. My fourteen-year-old son and his friend were moping in the living room because they couldn't access the XBox. It's in the basement bedroom, where my 21-year-old son was in bed with a migraine. What? An entire day to fill without video games? Impossible!
I shouted down some suggestions for activities (go to the park, play frisbee, go swimming, walk the dog, mow the lawn), which were roundly declined. There was just nothing to do! What's more, they were hungry and there was nothing in the house to eat! Frustrated, I told them to cook something.
And to my surprise, they bounced up off the couch, got out the cookbook, and started looking through it. And found the cakes and frostings section.
"Mom, we are so going to kill your kitchen," my son declared, and they were out the door to the store to buy ingredients.
For the next hour and a half, I listened to them downstairs, giggling hysterically, using the electric mixer, banging cupboard doors. Voices, laughter, happy sounds. I tried to peek in on them once but was quickly shooed away. "Don't look! It's a surprise!" Whatever they were up to, it smelled good.
At last I was told I could come downstairs "with eyes closed" - a dangerous thing in our house - and there on the counter, with candle merrily burning in the centre, was a wild and beautiful crazy creation. A white cake at the bottom, soaked in frosting, topped with chopped Boston Cream doughnuts and chocolate swirls. In frosting was written in the centre "Dub Step Forever." They took a jillion photos of it with camera and phone.
It was super sweet, probably a million calories, and glorious. If you had told me two teenage boys could get such glee out of baking a cake, I would have scoffed. It's terrific what creativity and old-fashioned fun - and pride - can spontaneously erupt when the XBox is turned off.