Growing up as the oldest sibling in a big family means a life of accommodation. I suspect that if you ask any oldest sibling what they’d like even when they are grown, they will probably reply by asking (even if not with these words): What would be easiest for everyone involved in this situation? Then that’s what I’d like.
Ironically, the inability to pick what you want without first knowing how that decision will effect everyone else can be frustrating all by itself. Yesterday, when my wife asked me what cake I wanted for my birthday, she got quite annoyed when she realized that I was actually trying to figure out what cake she had already planned on baking me so that I could state that that was the cake that I wanted. I can see how that would be annoying, but it’s unintentional. At this point it’s pure habit.
Anyway, once my cover was blown I had to try and decide what cake was actually my favorite. And I really had no idea. My family has two theories about my favorite cake.1 There are those who think I like the German chocolate cake best and those who think I like the family version of Better Than Sunday cake best.2 Don’t get me wrong, these are both excellent confections. Neither one of these will lead to any disappointment on my part! But were they really my favorite? I had no idea. Even asking the question–without reference to what other people think or expect–was distinctly uncomfortable for me.
Then, out of nowhere, the answer hit me. The cake that I wanted for my birthday was… pie. Specifically: bumbleberry pie. I first had bumbleberry pie3 at the Navy Federal Credit Union employee cafeteria just last year, so it’s not like I’ve been missing out on my favorite for years. Any other year, it probably would have been a toss up between German chocolate and BTS. (And if you notice that I’m working hard to make sure no one feels hurt by this post, you’re not wrong. But it’s still true!)
In any case, Ro decided she loved me despite being exasperated with my inability to answer simple questions, so she ditched her plans to make me a German chocolate cake and ordered me bumbleberry pie. It’s been in our fridge since yesterday. Every time I open the fridge door to get something I see the box. And I smile. I don’t know which I’ve been enjoying more: the prospect of delicious bumbleberry pie or the ability to actually pick my favorite of something.
P.S. Bumbleberry pie is an inexact term for mixed-berry pie, usually (according to Wikipedia) featuring apple and rhubarb. For me, the best kinds is strawberry, rhubarb, and blackberry. As long as there’s rhubarb in it, however, I’m pretty happy.