words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

The cupcake

Last week, my children’s school had a special ‘Winter Lunch’ day at the Canteen.IMG_1823

For $7.00 (or was it $8.00?), they could order a hot roast beef roll, two mini cupcakes and a can of drink.

My 10-year old son was on board with the offer. (Awesome! That means only packing half a lunch box the night before. )

My daughter was not so thrilled. “I don’t like hot roast beef rolls. I just want the cupcakes”. (Damn! That means I have to pack the full lunch box).

Of course she only wants the cupcakes. She hates meat! $7.00 (or was it $8.00) for two measly cupcakes that were most likely to be the awful, dry, tasteless ones available in the supermarket. So I said no. “No, I’m not paying all that money for two little cupcakes.”

She was devastated.

When I asked her why she was so upset about not getting a lunch that she didn’t like, she replied, “I’ll be the only one without a cupcake”.

Oh dear.

So I quickly promised that I would make some cupcakes the day before the ‘Winter Lunch’, so she would definitely have a cupcake in her lunchbox — and one that would taste nicer than everyone else’s and would be bigger.

That put a smile on her face. Phew! Problem averted.

For a week or so at least….

You see, the day before the promised cupcake, turned out to be a very busy day. I won’t bore you with the minute details of my life, but needless to say, baking cupcakes was the last thing I wanted to be doing, or had time for, for that matter.

I really must be more careful about what I promise.

But a promise is a promise. And it was all tied up (or iced up) in a single solitary cupcake. If I had promised to bake cupcakes, then a bought one — no matter how expensive or which exclusive bakery it may have come from— simply wouldn’t do. So during the course of the mixing, and baking and icing and decorating, (which were all interspersed with other pressing chores), I wondered: how many other seemingly mundane, ordinary things in our lives represent something more than what initially meets the eye?

You see, to everyone else, that cupcake was just that — a cake. Nothing more than flour, sugar, butter, eggs and milk, with a bit of icing and sprinkles on top.

But to my daughter, it was a promise fulfilled. It was the security of not being the only one without a cupcake. It was more evidence that she can count on me — that my word was worth something. And it showed her that I loved her enough to squeeze in yet another task in my busy day, because it would make a difference to her.

When I asked her on the way home from school if she enjoyed her cupcake, she said “Oh yes Mummy. Thanks so, so much for making it!”

And so with a smile on our faces, we continued our journey home, where a container of cupcakes were waiting.

After all, you don’t bake just one cupcake, do you?

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Allison Tait Author

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