i call her ellabellabeautiful. the man with whom i share deepest darkest secrets–and grocery lists, besides–he took one look at her one moonlit evening back on old cape cod and dubbed her, “delicious cupcake.”
it’s a name that sticks.
it’s a name with superb, as they say, gifting opportunities.
why, if i lived next door, which is what i wish right now, i’d bake for her, wee little morsels, all swirled in pink and polka dots. i’d pull them from the oven, mound them deep in frosting, sprinkles, the whole caboodle. then i’d run, barefoot, right next door. to where the screen door slaps. from where her squeals and gurgles come.
i’d bring, oh, yes, itsy-bitsy cupcakes to my itsy-bitsy most delicious cupcake.
if i told you she was perfect, you’d nod and say, oh, yes. all aunties claim perfection. and then you’d maybe roll your eyes. think i wasn’t looking.
ah, but i’d protest. stomp my feets perhaps. i’d insist.
she really is, you see.
there are babies far and wide, i know. but those babies are wont to cry. and pout. and fuss through dinner time.
not delicious cupcake.
she just coos and watches. takes in the world around. folds her hands just so. spends whole long minutes–which in baby time is forever plus two days–weaving one finger in between two others. it’s quite a trick. delicious cupcake.
the most astounding cupcake trick, i’d say, is this one: for three days and three nights i barely left her side, so it’s not like she snuck off to the bathroom, slammed the door and had a real good cry. not like she crawled under the covers and whimpered till the sheets were soggy.
i tell you, that baby did not cry.
now crying, for most little humans, is just a part of what they do. a big part. a straight-through-dinner-and-on-into-nighttime part. they cry and cry and cry. till your arms shake. till your wits are at the very end. till you consider looking for the warranty, seeing if perhaps there’s a clause for refunds and returns.
but not cupcake.
cupcake, in a house full of big people who would have noticed just a peep, well she is altogether something more (yes, i said it: more. it’s auntie’s privilege to claim superlatives and not call it boasting).
she is that rare mellow baby girl who doesn’t raise her voice in protest. ever.
she seems to understand she won the baby lottery. she’s got a mama and a papa who would make you, too, a cooing, charming wonder.
they play the flute to her. they sing to her. they rock her in their arms. she drinks her mama’s milk. lets it dribble down her chin.
they hold her up to see the stars. take her strolling in the garden. already, she knows a black-eyed susan. and a sweetpea. and she’s just barely four months old.
i cried and kissed her goodbye after three fine summer days. but, oh, for the height of my summer’s ecstasy, she’s what i did–wholly, and deliciously–on my summer’s vacation.
this is but a travel postcard. i could write volumes on the subject of her holiness, her deliciousness. i could write of how i ache to be so far, far away from her. to know, every single day, that i am missing the miracle of her unfolding. but i am merely leaving a morsel in our trail. she is a love, plain and simple. and perfectly. delicious cupcake, yes.
what did you do–who did you meet–on your summer’s vacation?