There’s this lady named Lacey that works in the Farm Fresh bakery near my house. She’s my hero today.
Jackson’s five year remission anniversary is on Sunday. Just like we’ve done every year since he’s been in school, we send cupcakes in to celebrate. We come up with something unique each year – last year, Jackson made cookie cupcakes. Cookie at the bottom, cupcake on top. Lots of icing and sprinkles. He loved them.
This year Jackson was VERY specific about the cupcakes he wanted to make. He wanted funfetti cupcakes with blue/green funfetti icing. We went to three stores to get everything he needed: Target, Farm Fresh and Michael’s. We made yellow fondant Childhood Cancer ribbons to go on the top of the blue/green icing and sprinkles. He decorated them himself, and they turned out adorable!
Packed and ready this morning, Jackson had his cupcakes, plates, napkins and white luminary bags for his class to decorate. (We are going to light them on Sunday night around our house to mark the anniversary).
He was pumped. Ready.
Ev dropped Jackson off and it wasn’t 10 minutes later that my caller ID was his school. The assistant principal told me there are no homemade baked goods allowed in school because of allergies; it was Hampton City School’s policy. Since we’ve been at private school until this year, I just didn’t know. I apologized and told her I’d go get some storebought ones. She asked if I would let Jackson know.
This is when my heart absolutely broke.
Jackson got on the phone. He could barely breathe. He was crying, embarrassed. Can you imagine being seven, just for a second, and so proud of the cupcakes you made for an anniversary that no one else has and then being stopped and having to leave them in the office?
I’m sorry, I didn’t know! I’m going to fix it! I’ll leave right now and get some from the store and bring them in. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault, it’s Mommy’s. I’ll fix it!
I threw on workout pants, a hooded sweatshirt, glasses and my morning hair on top of my head. I grabbed my purse and sped to Farm Fresh.
I couldn’t believe it: they had 24 cupcakes with the same blue/green icing and sprinkles. There were Avengers rings on top of the cupcakes, but those could come off. Thank you, God.
I hollered to the lady working in the back of the bakery: How long does it take for these to thaw?
15 minutes, said Lacey.
Perfect! I ran to checkout, ironically rounding up for the CHKD cancer program as I did, and headed to my car. I plucked the Avenger’s rings off the frozen icing. Once I did, though, they just didn’t look special anymore. Could I take the fondant yellow Childhood Cancer ribbons off the homemade cupcakes? I’m sure I could. I turned to start the car then stopped. I actually wasn’t that sure I could.
So back into Farm Fresh with my already-bought, store-bought cupcakes. I made a beeline for the bakery and Lacey.
Excuse me? I said. Could I ask you a huge favor?
She came over and listened. My son…cancer…remission…cupcakes not allowed. I messed up. Can you maybe put yellow ribbons on the top of these?
Sure, she said. Using my iPhone picture of what the cupcakes looked like, Lacey started making the first ribbon. She stopped and switched tips on her yellow icing bag. She started again. Pretty soon there were yellow ribbons on a whole row of cupcakes. I waited, wiping a couple tears away from the corners of my eyes. Bakery, call on line one, came over the speaker. But Lacey kept on, focused. When she finished, she resealed the cake, something I wouldn’t have known, and smiled when I profusely thanked her. These cupcakes were as near to our homemade ones as store-bought-ly (I know, that’s not a word) possible. They were perfect.
So I ran back out, hopped in my car and made it to his school. Once buzzed in, the nurse met me in the office and checked the ingredients. We got a yellow sticker with an OK. With my Visitor sticker on, hair on top of my head and my workout pants that haven’t seen a gym yet, I knocked on the door to Jackson’s class. His teacher smiled and took the cupcakes. Jackson, very serious, came to the door and looked them over.
The lady at Farm Fresh made them JUST like yours, I said! I showed her your cupcakes on my phone.
Jackson nodded and gave me a couple hugs and pretty much told me with his eyes, Thanks, Mom, now hit the road. You look a hot mess.
I walked out feeling less like crying and more like going back to the bakery section of the grocery store and high-fiving my new best friend, Lacey. Crisis averted. Day blessed.
If you’re checking out at Farm Fresh anytime through April 4, remember this story. Remember the kids that have their remission cupcakes from the bakery. Give for the ones that are still fighting at the hospital. Over the last 14 years, Farm Fresh has raised almost $8 million for the cancer program at CHKD. There’s a special place in my heart for my cancer survivor…and my local grocery store.