Tomorrow is Kyle’s birthday. Today he’s having his party at school, the one where he brings cupcakes that his mom made for him. This is a very American rite of passage. At least in my opinion. I was not about to screw it up. That is why, last night at 10PM, I was tweeting things like this:
FOOD EMERGENCY: making cupcakes for kid’s b-day. Can I turn yellow cake mix into chocolate by adding cocoa powder?
Thank goodness for Twitter. I had 6 responses within 5 minutes. I tried the cocoa powder. It made the cupcakes brown, and they basically taste like brown yellow cake.
I wrote the following essay for LA Moms Blog, it should go up today, but I wanted to share with my home audience, so to speak.
As I packed up the Star Wars paper plates, napkins, and cups with the chocolate cupcakes I baked and frosted and sprinkled last night between 10PM and midnight before collapsing to bed after almost falling asleep at the keyboard, I realized I forgot to buy juice.
“Oh no,” I thought, that familiar sinking-feeling weighing down my gut, “this will ruin his birthday party at school! His first birthday party at school! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”
And then I took a deep breath, talked some sense into myself, and believed that it would all be okay. After all, it’s his 5th birthday. Not mine.
((Ripple the screen, play dreamy music, cue flashback))
I’m five years old. I live in a second-story apartment with my parents and my baby brother. I’m excited because today we’re bringing cupcakes to school to celebrate my birthday. I’m in Kindergarten, Mrs. Franco is my teacher, and I often chase a boy named Joseph to try to kiss him.
It’s a hectic morning, and my mother is struggling to get us out the door on time. I insist, in that infuriating 5-year-old manner, upon carrying the box of cupcakes myself. As we exit the apartment door into the hallway, I drop the box. It lands right side down. The cupcakes are smooshed, the frosting has come off in places.
My mother freaks out. I cry. If I was producing this as a scene in a movie, my baby brother would cry, too. A dog would bark, the doorbell would ring, and so would the telephone.
My mother puts the cupcakes back in the apartment and rushes to get us all into the car. I’m still crying. We stop at a store on the way to school to pick up a box of store-bought cookies. That will be the treat for my birthday party at school.
((Ripple the screen, play dreamy music, cue cut to present day))
That’s what I remember. When my mother reads this, perhaps she will fill in the details, or protest and say I’ve got it all wrong. I don’t remember what happened at school, or if I eventually had a good time and a special birthday. I’m sure I did. But I will never forget the disappointment of dropping the cupcakes.
Somehow, my first child will turn 5 tomorrow. I wanted to make sure his first ever school party was perfect. I asked him what he wanted to bring – he said chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles. (He is my child.) Star Wars party supplies. Juice. I made the cupcakes myself (from a boxed mix, but still homemade). Believe me, I looked in all the cabinets for juice, or the elements to make juice, but came up dry.
I guess we’ll be stopping at the store on the way to school. But no matter what – nobody‘s dropping the cupcakes.
[Photo by snoopa via Flickr]