As soon as the oven door opened, I jumped at the piercing sound of the smoke alarm. Oh no! Something was not right. What happened? The cupcakes looked okay, but they were chocolate. It’s hard to tell if they burned. I placed them on the rack to cool. Hard as a rock. I began to peel the paper liner with difficulty as if they were glued on. When I inspected the bottom of the cupcakes, I discovered what I had already suspected. They were burned and soon would make their way to the garbage can. I was in tears as my husband suggested that we just cut off the burned bottoms. The control freak in me could not even entertain such an idea! How could I serve cupcake tops to all the guests at my son’s 8th birthday party?
When we throw birthday parties for our children (whether we have a guest list of 50 people or 5 little kids), I like to go all out: staying up many nights before the event, making decorations, putting together favors, preparing the food and cake, and attending to smallest details that most would probably overlook. (As a side note to my fellow bloggers, all the party planning explains my brief disappearance from the blogosphere.) Sometimes (ok, most times) I would have some sort of a personal meltdown during the preparations because something just didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned. So, for my son’s 8th birthday party, it was the cupcakes. Another lesson for me in surrendering all things to The Lord.
I was able to make a new batch of cupcakes the night before the party, but it required staying up till 2 am. We only invited family members to the party, but we have a large extended family so the head count totaled around 50. I had tried to prepare my son for what’s to come, rehearsing with him what to say when people greeted him or asked him the typical birthday party questions. I attempted to tackle his propensity towards anxiety in crowds before it happened, but he still got a bit nervous. Overall, I think he handled it very well. He played the games. He went into the Jump House with the other kids. And, he devoured his chocolate cupcake.
At one point during the party, when I was running around, like a chicken with its head cut off, my son pulled on my arm and said, “Mommy, do you want to play with me?” Because I was so busy with the party, I didn’t say yes right away. “Let me finish this first, Son.” However, one thing led to another, but he was persistent in his request. “How about if we play here in the kitchen?” I said cheerfully (truthfully, it was my sad attempt to multi-task). But, he wanted to play in the bedroom. So I went, leaving behind some minor tasks and guests, who were more than able to take care of themselves. My son and I left the downstairs commotion and retreated to the upstairs room to have a peaceful game of “I Spy”.
I almost lost sight of why we wanted to have a party in the first place. I thank The Lord for reminding me that in the midst of such a big and busy event, there were still plenty of simple moments to enjoy with my child. I just needed to stop and savor them.