Life In Bite Size

In the spirit of my digging through the archives, pardon me for re-posting yet another old entry from an old site 🙂 Maybe after I’ve migrated them here it’s time for them to say bye-bye to the innernetz. Whatchathink?

Anyway, this entry comes from way back in 2008, a few days after I came out of my two year retirement from preschool teaching. Perhaps this is why Cara was very special to me too. As I said in that post, she was my perfect welcome back to teaching present. She celebrated her birthday 2 days after classes began and I did not know much of her or her family yet at that point but they gave me one of the most important life lessons I ever learned.

bit by bit, each just as grand as the one next to it.

In class today, we had a birthday party. Unlike the usual parties where there’d be a huge cake, Cara’s mom brought a cupcake tree. Each cupcake was decorated with a swirl of brightly colored frosting and topped with a sugar Mickey and Friends character…yes, the classic Disney characters many of us older people grew up with! There were no Disney Princesses, or Pooh bears or what not, just the simple basic characters of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and Goofy. Put together on a stand, the cupcakes were an interesting substitute to a regular cakeLooking at that cupcake tree got me to thinking about how I tend to take things in as a whole, just like a regular cake. It reminded me that things need not to be so big and grand to be beautiful. As simple as it was, it reminded me not to always take too big a bite at life…that life in bite-size pieces can be just as good. I forget many times that a whole is made up of the sum of it’s parts and that while put together it makes something grand, individually it stands it’s own ground.

A few months ago I was struggling with just that in my life: taking in everything as a big, giant chunk. I started seeing myself only as the totality of all my parts, very much like a puzzle that would only look good if all parts were complete. Every little thing said, done, not said or not done was seen in as one, not itty bitty parts of my reality. As such, it soon became too overwhelming and this ginormous weight soon became much too much to bare.

When things get stuck together, like a three-tiered cake for example, it is difficult to carry, and to move around. Further, it requires so much more effort and commitment to complete and maintain. I suppose it can also be said that in many instances a big cake ends up with more wastage at the end as people tend to slice a piece bigger than intended them it gets thrown out. Cupcakes, on the other hand, are smaller, single-serve sizes that most anyone can finish. As such, it doesn’t get wasted. Similarly, because these pieces are smaller, they’re easy to take along. Until I started seeing things as their own little ‘cupcakes’, I couldn’t make big strides in my emotional growth.

Once I did, however, I was able to choose what cupcake to put where and how each cupcake can be put together to make a pretty whole.

The cupcake tree  reminded me of lessons I’ve learned these past few months while struggling to make sense of my reality. With the wisdom and guidance of my wise old crone, I discovered the different bits and pieces that made up the whole me. Much like those cupcakes, each part of me, be it the creative, free-flowing child, the bright and shiny optimist, the dark and twisty single girl, the damsel in distress, the independent woman,or the wisened old soul,  all were important parts of who I am today. Unlike a puzzle, I’d still be okay without some of it’s pieces. Like the cupcake tree, too, all those parts just make it nicer, not necessarily more ‘whole’.

The simplicity of the structure, as well as Cara’s mommy’s choice of characters also reminded me that we always need to go back to the basics. And while the basics may not be so cool, or hip, or even interesting, it is something that is essential to the soul. I realized that often times I get caught up in the accessorizing and decorating of my inner and outer selves that I start to lose sight of what is really important.

Although the cupcakes have found their ways into the hungry tummies of the kids and their equally starving teachers, the lesson of the cupcake tree is staying with me: take life in bite size pieces.

  • #1
    Posted by More Things I'll Miss Next Year | TheAccidentalTeacher on December 6th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    […] And to be honest, once, I got so inspired by a cupcake tree one of the mommies made, it ended up a blog post. But that’s a whole other story  Other Good Reads:Stocking Up on Hugs and KissesLittle […]

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