I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Ones That Count

Sometimes you get a customer who really gets to you...and you just can't get them out of your head. A few weeks ago a lady called me asking about cupcakes for a first birthday, as it was shortly going to be her granddaughter's party and they wanted a very specific look for the event. The mother, sister, and grandmother all came in to see me, with baby in tow and a whole lot of reference photos for me to look at. The Mum wanted four different designs, and was really specific about flavours, colours, shapes, etc. She had the cupcakes planned to the very last detail.

Strangely, during the consult the Mum (of the birthday girl) seemed very miserable. Didn't really engage with me, hardly spoke to me ... she just didn't seem like a lot of the (sometimes frazzled) young mothers I see in my kitchen. Most of them are happy and excited to be talking about birthday cake. To be honest, I thought she wasn't at all happy with what I offered her. When they left, I assumed she would go somewhere else - so I was quite surprised to get an email a few days later, asking about paying a deposit.

When I spoke to the grandmother again, the story was revealed. Turns out this young Mum (she is only 21 years old) has brain cancer, and the prognosis isn't looking good. It is a real possibility for this family that she will never see another one of her daughter's birthdays. For that reason, the family was pulling out all the stops for this first birthday party, getting every detail exactly right and making it a real celebration of both of their lives. She was miserable that day because not only was she in the middle of a round of treatment, but she was probably also thinking about the birthday parties she may never get to be a part of.

When the cupcakes were picked up, the Aunt said, "These are perfect! Exactly what was in the picture. She's going to LOVE these! Thank you so much!" She was so effusive, and so grateful...and my heart just ached and ached for this family. I know I can't do anything for them...other than make them exactly the cupcakes they wanted for their special celebration.

You know what? It's not much, but I know it's going to make this Mum happy. For her, at the moment, I'm guessing it's all about the small happiness she can glean from every day spent with her daughter. This pastry biz might not change the world, but if it makes this sick Mum's day a bit brighter, it will all be worth it.

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