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Cake Walk of Shame

posted Friday November 4th, 2011

“I’m praying for her,” the Cake Walk Lady stage-whispered as she dropped Sophie’s ticket in a big barrel and motioned for her to join the circle.

Twenty, 30, 40 times? I lost count. We must have been at the Cake Walk a full hour by then, almost half the time allotted for the school’s fall festival. Other people had started to notice Sophie’s terrible luck.

I blame myself. For a person who doesn’t consider herself religious I’m hyper-superstitious and as I watched Sophie scoot around the circle to “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Black-Eyed Peas, then rush to take her place on a number, lips pressed together to contain the excitement of what she just knew was an imminent win — only to hear someone else’s number called again — I couldn’t help but think that no amount of prayer was going to help in this case.

Nothing was going to help.

Sophie was doomed. And it was all my fault.

Three days earlier (with the blessings of the festival chairperson, but still) I’d backed out of my obligation to plan the little kids’ haunted house at the fall festival. It’s a long, boring story (trust me, you don’t want to know) that involves $50 worth of glow-in-the-dark crap purchased from the Oriental Trading Company and a large pile of cardboard from Ikea (anyone want any?) and ended with me arriving at the festival guilt-ridden and obligation-free.

And having completely forgotten I’d promised to bake a cake for the cake walk. The least I could have done.

What’s the karmic revenge for that kind of indiscretion? I can tell you. Your kid will never, ever win a cake at the fall festival cake walk.

It’s not like we needed a cake at home or even as though Sophie would have eaten it (she’s an ice cream girl) but with ever fiber of her being, she wanted to WIN.

After a couple dozen determined turns, I think even Sophie realized it wasn’t meant to be. We stood next to the circle and her lip quivered. I offered a hot dog, the bouncy house, face painting. A donut eating contest.

“I want to go home,” she said, eyes welling up.

In the end, we didn’t go home. But we did give up on the cake walk. Sophie wound up having a good time. In fact, it was the best fall festival I’ve ever been to at the school.

As we were leaving, we passed the PTA president, a friend of mine. “Great festival!” I said.

“Ah shucks,” he demured. “I didn’t have a thing to do with it!”

No, I thought to myself, that was me.

On my “to do” list: write the PTA a check. How much do you think a karma scrub will cost?

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Tags: Filed under: culture, Down syndrome, third grade by Amysilverman

One Response to “Cake Walk of Shame”

  1. At least $100. And next year volunteer for the Jello Eating Contest. It’s totally fun.

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