I haven't had a birthday cake since 2005. That is 3 years of feeling miserable and deprived because everyone else gets cake and I just get FAT.
Well today was different. Kerryn revealed to me the little publicised secret that cake has 0 calories on your birthday so I told the people at work to go ahead and get me one. After they picked their jaws up off the floor, I chose a berry flan type affair (fruit - yum).
I chose not to eat it at afternoon tea time, but to take a slice home with me for dessert this evening because I know I handle sugar better after a proper meal rather than on an empty stomach. At the appointed time, everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' and I was in charge of cutting up the cake and handing out the slices.
As more and more people arrived to wish me a happy day, the cake dwindled rapidly. Then a curious thing happened. Instead of thinking "Oh my god, I'm not going to get any", I was instead pleased to be giving my cake to other people to enjoy. By the end of it there were only a few berries and crumbs left that I scooped into my plastic container to take home. No-one noticed that I hadn't eaten any because I was busy being 'mother', and everyone had a wonderful time.
No thoughts of deprivation, no telling myself that I didn't want it anyway when I could have eaten the whole thing on my own, no self pity and no martyrdom. Instead simple joy in being able to allow myself to eat cake and then not really caring that much when I missed out. There will always be other cakes and other birthdays.
Being conscious of all this is far more joyous than any brief sensation a sugary slice of sweetness could have ever given me. And the feeling has lasted all afternoon. It is indeed a happy day!