Monday, May 14, 2007

Thanks for the lectures, cupcakes and love

When I was young, my mom would take me grocery shopping at the Adams Supermarket in North Adams, Massachusetts. The supermarket was in a cavernous building split down the middle by a large corridor. On one side was Adams and on the other was Zayre’s, a discount department store could have inspired the modern Wal Mart.

The building’s middle was lined with gumball machines and those ride-on horses and cars that kids love. It also housed a small bakery called Molly’s, which always had an ample selection of scrumptious looking cupcakes.

Often after grocery shopping, my mom would wheel our cart over and buy me a cupcake for the ride home. The buttercream icing was always piled high, covered with sprinkles and topped with a small plastic decoration that varied depending on the season (a witch or black cat on Halloween, Santa at Christmas, a heart for Valentine’s Day, flowers during the spring and summer).

Inevitably, I’d pluck off the plastic decoration and carefully tuck it away for later, then eat nothing but the icing, leaving the entire cake to waste. While I’m sure my mom grumbled about this and probably mentioned something about starving kids in China, she continued to buy me cupcakes on a fairly frequent basis and I continued licking only the icing and leaving the bare, sad little cake uneaten.

In retrospect, it was a small part of my childhood, a teeny little blip among thousands of memories of my early years. But for some reason, it sticks with me and to this day whenever I eat a cupcake I think of Molly’s and my mom and her unending patience with the girl who knew even back then that the icing is the best part of the cake.

On Mother’s Day, it’s appropriate to thank your mom for all the things, big and small, that she did for you as a child. So here’s my list: Thank you mom for the hugs, the support, the hard lessons. The wiping of tears, the punishments, the kisses and snuggles, the stories, the birthday parties, the sewing of homemade Halloween costumes. The late nights holding my hand and wiping my head with a cloth when I was sick. All the time spent braiding and curling my hair. All the stories. The trip to the Clark Art Institute when I was 8 and the trips to visit me in New York City when I was 28. The quiet moments and the boisterous moments. The lectures and the love. The knowledge and know-how.

And, of course, the cupcakes, which helped make even trips to the grocery store fun and sweet and special. Love you.

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