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The Cupcake Walk

At almost every other booth at the Halloween Carnival, participants win no matter their performance. Pick a duck with a black bottom? Candy! But, pick a duck with an orange bottom? Toy! Toss a ring that lands around the pumpkin? Yay, a prize! Toss a ring wildly behind you narrowly leaving an innocent classmate’s eye intact? Yay, the same prize!

But, only five of the eighteen kids who participate in each round of the Cupcake Walk walk away with a cupcake. It’s a harsh reality to face. Cory and Fisher, together with their neighbors and good friends, Pierce (C and F’s age) and Laird (younger) line up. Cory, Fisher, and Pierce quickly pick up what to do. Laird has to be firmly directed, so, of course, Laird wins the cupcake, while they do not. As the preschooler enjoys the fruits of his, um, labors, Cory shrugs her shoulders, puts fingers to lips, and pleads with her eyes to do it again. Pierce is clearly upset as well, while Fisher — a very stoic Batman today — moves off to stand in line, you know, to shoot something. Cupcakes, schmupcakes.

Cory tries again while Pierce gathers his courage. Even though the walk is to one of her favorite songs (…”my anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t…”…yah, don’t, as in, don’t get me started on that one…), she doesn’t win. Again. Pierce joins her for what is sure to be lucky attempt number three, bucked up by words of encouragement: it’s okay, not everyone wins every time, etc. When the music stops, she is called to the center, but he is not. She heads to the cupcake prize table; he heads over to the adults, struggling mightily against renewed disappointment.

Of her own accord, after much deliberation and ultimate selection of a cellophane-wrapped Halloween-themed cupcake, unprompted, she runs immediately over to hand Pierce her cupcake. He is a little shaken by this gratitude, which the adults all praise. She stares down, either a little embarrassed by all the attention or wistfully eyeing one last time the chocolate she won’t be eating.

For Daddy, it’s a win-win-win. The gift shows generosity and empathy, it blunts his disappointment, and no more sugar enters her system. And, believe it, more than enough sugar had already gone into her system this day to have justified two, three *other* posts, posts which would not have reflected well, probably on either Daddy or her.

Better to focus, at the end of a challenging day, on the positive.

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