My brother, Blake, lived with us as support during the process of tube weaning. He stayed from December 26th – February 7th. In those forty-four days, we all learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons, developed an unbreakable trust, and were forever changed. The events unfolded perfectly: beginning with Blake’s divine Nemo cake for adorable Francesca’s 2nd birthday and ending with his delightful carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for our incredible mom’s 60th birthday. The days in between were also filled with various flavors of frosting. However, ultimately, it was Blake who held us together more than the stickiness of any frosting could have.

Blake not only has a culinary gift, he is also quick-minded, creative, intuitive, and disciplined. I could not have imagined a better suited person than our loving Uncle Blake to help us wean Francesca. The process of tube weaning was truly a team effort and we were thankful every moment to have Blake’s help. He spent his days consumed with the task of making eating fun and with fun came an ever-present mess. In the face of frosting, mayonnaise, and yogurt smeared on the walls, ice cream dripping down the couch, and every food imaginable covering the floors, Blake remained calm and devoted.

He swept and mopped the floor religiously, posted a synopsis of the program rules to help us stay focused, planned fun activities and food crafts (mini-gingerbread houses, cereal and fruit necklaces, fruit skewers, biscuits shaped like houses, valentine cookie decorating), replaced plastic toys with edible toys, braved the grocery store, played with Francesca, cooked amazing meals, baked something aromatic every day, did endless dishes, and gave us the much needed respite to be able to continue to work and to escape to an occasional coffee shop or yoga class. Truly, he was the house elf hero.

Thank you, Blake, for being the frosting that held us together while Francesca uncovered the joy of eating.