Making Cupcakes

I always wondered what it would be like to have as your main job "mom." A luxury many people have and love, and others have and crave for something more stimulating. The past 6 years since Zoe-Pascale was born have been a whirlwind of career, child care, running a business, and trying to have a life and stay somewhat sane. A difficult task at best. The greatest luxury I am having here in France is to be able to spend time with Zoe-Pascale and Jean and enjoy the small events in life from walking to school every morning, to reading to her, to cooking dinner; all relaxed and sans stressed (without stress).A few days ago, a notice went up at school that said the CP class (first grade) would end at noon on Tuesday as the teacher needed to go to a conference. In France, they don't necessarily get substitute teachers for short term absences but instead cancel school or have the kids go to other classes and basically color. (More on that later). Back in Marin, if I was told that I had to find childcare for Zoe-Pascale unexpectedly, I would be in a panic and stressed out trying to juggle her needs and our work obligations. As someone pointed out to me, you make life in California work until there is a bump in the road and then there is a big bump and all breaks apart.I noticed that I received this news with calm and almost excitement wondering what we could do that day that would be fun, educational, and an opportunity to continue to build friendships. Therefore, we invited one little girl over (Perrine) and in a panic another mom who works asked what we were doing and could her son, Cameron come over. In another life I would have been in a state and was enthralled to do something for someone else in need and have the time to just be with the kids. At noon I picked up the 3 kids and we went home to make lunch and play for a bit. Zoe was a little nervous with one boy and one girl coming over. What if Perrine only wanted to play Barbies and Cameron didn't (which he didn't). We decided to take out the non-gender games and let them choose among themselves which to play. Each picked a number 1-3 and got a turn for 15 minutes each; chutes and ladders, puzzle, and marbles.After lunch I decided to adventure into a new space for me, making cupcakes. I had brought over a cupcake pan (France doesn't have cupcakes) and got a recipe off the internet and forged into having the kids make cupcakes. The kids helped mix and stir the flour, milk, butter and vanilla, crack the egg and most of all lick the bowl. Fifteen minutes later the cupcakes were complete. The frosting was a bit drippy as it was from a custard base, but once it was decorated with sprinkles no one noticed.After working fulltime for 25 years (yes I am that old, but don't look it) and being very fulfilled professionally, it seems like an oxymoron to say that the act of making cupcakes with three children gave me a sense of completeness and happiness that put a smile on my face the rest of the day. How is this possible?I have known but am truly coming to believe that the world we have created was created for those who live to be 50 or 60 or maybe 70 and then die. It was created for a time when people had kids young and life went according to plan. It was created for those who are lucky enough to retire with ongoing income and pensions when they are 55. The world today, especially in the US, however is not set up for two working couples, older parents with ongoing expenses for young kids, rising health care and college expenses, adults who have been layed off from large companies every 5 years, no pension, and no hope for social security. A new way of going through life for "baby boomers" and others is needed and we are carving the way. My taking time out of life to make cupcakes with Zoe-Pascale is a risk both financially and professionally. But if I don't do it now she will grow up and I will never be able to say "I made cupcakes with her." I am grateful for this time and we shall see what comes out of it on the other end.
Suzanne Saxe-Roux