19. The Cupcake Incident

19. The Cupcake Incident

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness

The Cupcake Incident

You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.

~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

“No, you listen to me!” my younger son, Jon, protested. I felt paralyzed—unable to speak—as a convulsive wave of tears engulfed me. My mom used to call it “hiccup crying”—gasping for breath between sobs. I finally had to hang up the phone, unable to listen anymore.

Jon had never used that tone of voice with me—ever! He had never even talked back to me while he was growing up. He was the “perfect” son who could do no wrong, and now he was speaking to me in a “foreign” language! I didn’t know who he was or what he was talking about.

The cupcakes I had been icing with pink peppermint frosting for the Ladies’ Annual Christmas Tea sat on the kitchen table—half-baked and half iced.

Mark, my husband of thirty-three years, had only seen me that upset once before in our marriage. “What’s going on?” he asked, crossing his arms against his chest.

In between sobs, I sputtered, “Jon… said…” And that’s as far as I got before another wave of grief stopped me and the tears flowed again.

Finally, after catching my breath, I recounted the entire conversation. Jon was seeing a lovely young woman while he was attending Grove City College in Pennsylvania, but he failed to communicate to us that he was in love with her and they were planning on getting engaged. We were absolutely clueless!

While Jon was away at college, his former girlfriend, Justine, had asked to meet me for lunch. As a mom of two sons, I had learned it was always better not to have anything to do with ex-girlfriends; in fact, it was best never to mention their names again. So I was careful to ask Jon’s permission before I made plans to see her. He had given me an emphatic “yes.”

“Mom, you can do whatever you want! It’s fine with me,” he said reassuringly.

What Jon had failed to realize was it might not be okay with the woman of his dreams—the one he was going to marry! When Kim got word that I was making plans to see his old girlfriend, there was a “slight” problem in the communication department.

I was caught in the middle. That’s when I received the phone call from Jon that blindsided me!

Seeing my distress, Mark called Jon right back and said, “If you ever talk to your mom like that again and in that tone of voice, don’t bother setting foot in this house.” There was a brief moment of silence and then Mark demanded, “Do you understand?”

I cringed when I heard those words. Now we had two hurting hearts—no—four: Jon, me, Mark and Kim! How were we ever going to patch up things? Would I see Jon again? Would we all reconcile?

The day after Jon’s phone call, the doorbell rang and the delivery-man presented me with a white box wrapped in green floral wrap. I thanked him profusely and closed the door before anyone else could see my puffy eyes from a sleepless and tearful night.

When I opened the box, there was a cupcake arrangement made with hot pink carnations and white chrysanthemums. Tucked inside the flowers was a gift card with red hearts. It read, “Please forgive me, Mom. I was wrong and I’m so sorry. Love, Jon.” I clutched the card to my chest and heaved a sigh of relief.

It’s been five years since the “cupcake” incident that nearly severed our mother/son relationship, but in its place came a deep gratitude for sharing the truth and widening the future for even greater possibilities.

Jon and Kim were married on May 30, 2010. Instead of losing a son, I gained a daughter!

That was the first time I had ever received flowers from Jon, but definitely not the last! There’s always room for more “cupcakes.”

~Connie K. Pombo

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