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Forgetting the Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I was waiting for a phone call from one my publisher’s representatives. A look at my phone confirmed he was already 30 minutes late. Since this was our second try at connecting, frustration was beginning to raise its frazzled head. Just then, the call came. He quickly apologized to me, explaining that right before our appointment he remembered he was supposed to pick up his son. He’d lost track of the time, and finally remembering, left the office to find his boy.

As we talked I found myself relating to him, a parent who had missed an opportunity. And as he talked, I flashed back to a real memory of my son, waiting with his friends in their elementary school classroom for birthday treats that arrived too late. That remembrance came racing right out of my mouth into the phone. It wasn’t that I wanted to commiserate with him as a parent; it was that the memory, so long asleep, suddenly welled up in my heart and demanded its telling.

Though only a few sentences tumbled from me during that call, since then I’ve replayed that long-ago day, recalling details and creating a few scenarios . . . all ending with “Mom forgot me”. That day I expect I glanced up at the clock, hastily dropped whatever work had consumed me, grabbed the box of cupcakes and raced, in full guilt mode, across town to the school. Too late for the allotted birthday break time, I probably handed the box to Matt’s teacher with profuse and guilty apologies. At least that’s how I’m reliving that scene today.

Though I haven’t a clue what work I was producing that day, I know I must have thought it vital. After all, I was one of the necessary cogs helping to turn the necessary wheel of a vocation I loved. Regrettably, on reflection I realize that day was not unique; I probably too often prioritized my work over important and real memory-making moments with loved ones.

My cupcake memory points to common ground, some very real similarities among adults, like me, who tried juggling professional and personal time in the late 20th century, and those doing the same balancing act in the 21st. The human condition still requires well-developed, decision-making skills. How do we maintain a balance between the necessary production demands of the fundamental, intellectual, always-busy brain, and the opportunities to experience what is most personally real . . . the commonplace, grace-filled, intimate, heart-based connections with loved ones?

Luckily, each day brings a clean slate, ready for the writing of new, intentional decisions for managing the balance. Wherever you find yourself on life’s path now, I hope you are leaning into the real . . . into being available to nurture relationships and build memories with those who shower you with delight and fill your heart with joy.

I wish you the time and space to consistently nourish yourself and those you love on sweet, memory-making experiences . . . filled with cupcakes that always show up, right on time.

In grace,




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