Today’s guest post in the 14 Days of Homemade Love series comes from Kris Albertson about a bit of Valentine nostalgia. Motherhood is bittersweet – we get to nurture and watch these miraculous little humans grow into amazing people, but then have to learn to let go as they become more and more independent. Oh, but those memorable moments we have with them while they’re little!
It was sometime after dinner but before bedtime stories. We were getting ready to wind down for the evening when my daughter announced it was her turn to bring snacks for her 1st grade Valentine’s Day party.
“Oh, that sounds like fun!” When is your party?
She didn’t even look up from her Lego monstrosity when she said, “Tomorrow.”
“What!? Tomorrow?! Morning? Honey, why didn’t you tell me earlier?”, I said, trying not to sound panic stricken.
“I don’t know.” -Her favorite response.
My mind was spinning, mentally searching the contents of my kitchen cabinets for something I could pass off as snacks. In the back of my mind I could hear my own mother’s voice putting The Curse on me. “I hope when you have children of your own, they act just like you.” I’m here to tell you, Curse works.
“I’m supposed to bring cupcakes”, my little absent minded angel added, still not breaking her concentration with the Lego construction.
Cupcakes? Wow. Okay, we can’t show up to a Valentines Day party without cupcakes.
No, Sir. That kind of snafu would certainly ruin the rest of her elementary experience, not to mention what it would do to me, a single, capable, making-it-on-my-own, kind of mom, hell-bent on beating my mother’s curse.
And so, with no time to spare, we threw on some clothes, pulled our hair back in pony-tails and off we ventured to the only store in our little town. The one that closes in….oh no…ten minutes!
We slide sideways into the parking lot and make a bee-line for the door. The lights are already dimming, the country music normally blaring over the loudspeaker is absent, and the pressure is on!
Small town stores don’t have a bakery, so finding store-bought cupcakes here is as likely as finding caviar. I locate the aisle marked “Baking Goods” and feel a sense of accomplishment.
My daughter skips along side me, singing a song about the letter “H”, as I frantically scour the shelves for cupcake mix.
Let’s see. Baking goods. I don’t think I’ve ever traversed this aisle in my life. The only thing I’ve ever “baked” is a frozen pizza. I don’t even bake potatoes, for crying out loud.
Okay-focus. Cake mix, brownie mix, flour, sugar, chocolate chips, frosting…better grab a can of that. Birthday candles, little candied sprinkles…Have they sold all the cupcake mix?
After going up one side and down the other and still not finding the mix, I reluctantly flag down the cutest little stocker-boy. He couldn’t have been a day over 14 or 15. I’m sure his folks were out in the parking lot waiting to take him home, or maybe he rode his skateboard to work. Poor little guy had his arms full of cardboard boxes and I know he was ready to go home to finish his math homework, but I asked him for help anyway.
“Sorry to bother you, honey. Can you tell me where I could find the cupcake mix? I’ve looked all over the baking section, but haven’t found it yet.”
Little Stocker Boy looked at me with a sideways grin as he bent to set the boxes down. He adjusted his ball cap as he questioned me, “Cupcake mix?”
“Yeah. Valentine’s Day party tomorrow, ya know?” I said.
“Well” he said, “I’m not sure, but I think you just use regular cake mix and pour it into those little cup things.”
“Hmm. Well. That does make sense! Thanks.”
I am happy to report the cupcakes were a success! Sadly, my baking career did not launch.
The Great Cupcake Caper was over twenty years ago, but I still remember this like it was yesterday.
For me, the best part of the was hearing my Mom roar with laughter when I told her about it!
Kris Albertson is a retired detective turned freelance writer. You can check out her blog at http://LineUpPay.com.