This evening I took my son to Publix to pick out his birthday cake. He is going to be nine. He didn't want any kind of themed cake, any complicated Pinterest-inspired Minecraft or cars number like he had in previous years. (OK, I may have influenced him a little with the over-themed desserts some years.)
The point is: this year we're keeping the celebration simple. All he wanted was a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, which we ordered at our neighborhood Publix. It would simply read, "Happy 9th Birthday, Nate."
"What color icing would you like?" asked the baker. Nate hesitate a minute. He gets shy.
"What's your favorite color?" she said. He didn't hesitate, but spoke softly because this is how he is around strangers. Quiet. Polite.
"My favorite color is pink," he said.
"Pink?" she replied and looked at me, like to make sure that was OK.
In that moment, time stood still. "Please don't question this," I thought. "Please don't make a comment about pink being for girls, or questioning why his favorite color is pink." If I could telegraph this with my eyes, if I could send a secret signal, I would implore her not to go there. I didn't have the energy for a conversation about gender politics and birthday cakes, but would if I had to. But I was so tired, and just didn't want my son to think anything other than pink is a wonderful color, and he can pick any shade to be his favorite and that the best and brightest creatives explore every single color. Please just take down his name and say, "Pink it is!"
The good news: I looked at her and she wrote down the order. Pink it is.
Well, pink with lime green accents, per his request.