Occasionally in life – very occasionally – something may happen that is just too much for us to absorb right away. We are stunned by the magnitude that is beyond our normal experience. The enormity of the event may bludgeon us with grief, or it may float us in a happiness that swells into a tsunami of excitement. It takes a while to believe that such a tsunami is real, not a figment of one’s imagination.
It happened in the first week of August 1974. Almost a year earlier, Elbert and I had completed the numerous forms and interviews required to be considered as parents of a child for adoption. We had waited for months and months, with no guarantees. We lived on hope. Finally on a Wednesday morning in August, the social worker called at our home. There was a baby for us… a baby girl. We would be parents in five days. Five days!
I immediately called Elbert at work and greeted him with, “guess what?” Somehow he managed to guess correctly, without a second of hesitation.
My excitement swirled around me, lifting my body in a bubble of amazed disbelief. I made a few more calls. My friend B.G. Boyle was one of the first to know, and she told me to come on over to her place, just a couple of blocks away.
In a euphoric fog, I could hardly believe my incredibly exciting news. Was this all really happening? Would I actually be a mother in five days? I semi-listened as B.G. explained that she wanted to host a baby shower for me. And what about this recipe for strawberry cake? She would like to serve it at the shower. She showed me the picture in a recent magazine – a yellow sheet cake with pink strawberry swirls, crowned with strawberry frosting.
I stared at the glossy photo. It occurred to me that this cake wasn’t abstract — it was a tangible object. It was then that I realized:
If B.G. is baking this very real cake for my baby shower, then I must be getting a baby — a very real baby. A baby that we will name Karen Lavonne.
The strawberry cake convinced me.