I married into a pretty fabulous family. It's a fact. My husbands maternal grandma was a woman of many talents whom I grew to love quickly as we would sit and talk. She lived at my in-laws for a couple of years before she passed, and during that time she was grieving the loss of her husband, the love of her life. She would talk for hours about the past, recounting details of her time she spent living with her Nanny, her job at the telephone office, and the ins and outs of raising TEN children. Yes, that says ten. I learnt many valuable lessons from Grandma through her stories, and one of them came rushing back to me as I prepared to send my sweet first born off to school this week.
Grandma and Grandpa were not wealthy, and to make financial matters even more tight they added ten children to the mix. So while they may have been raising their brood during the dawning of 'convenience' food, Grandma made every meal from scratch. Between caring for the children still at home, cleaning the home, tending the garden, and making supper, Grandma took the time every weekday to prepare an after school snack. Her snack of choice for ten children [plus friends] was usually cake. Grandma had many reasons for the after school cake tradition, from the fact that she knew everyone enjoyed cake, to ensuring that all her children would be making a bee-line for her kitchen after school - and not someone else's.
And so it was a given that today, being Darius' first full day of kindergarten, that I needed cake waiting on the counter for him when he returned home. The sweet aroma of vanilla and butter cream drifted through our home after school as Darius came bursting in the door. His excitement was evident as he recounted his first day of school, and his eyes sparkled as he enjoyed the cupcake in front of him. He sat only long enough to devour his cupcake, then he was off to the backyard, running, laughing and playing with his little brother. And it was in that moment that Grandma's wisdom sunk in. It is that moment of laughing, sharing, and filling me in on his wonderful day while he enjoyed something I had lovingly made him, that makes the cake magical. So while I won't always have cupcakes waiting for him [sorry Grandma, but cake is a special occasion treat in our house], Darius will always find something delicious to linger over and spend time with him Mama after school.