/ / Cupcakes, the Eagles, a Super Bowl and Hope

Cupcakes, the Eagles, a Super Bowl and Hope


A friend dropped some special Eagles cupcakes in our mailbox this weekend. She got them from a favorite bakery that has made many custom cakes for our celebrations—baptisms, birthdays, Jesus cakes for Christmas morning, anniversaries, the end of a school year, and even Super Bowl parties. You know all the things that bring joy and hope.

It’s been quite some time since I had a cupcake, let alone ordered a cake from this bakery.

The last time I had their cake was when this same friend also dropped a small cake to let me know she cared and was thinking of us when we lost my mom.

The last cake I ordered was for my daughter’s high school graduation. She graduates from college this spring. Time Flies.

These buttercream, chocolate chip pound cake cupcakes were decorated with the colors of our beloved Eagles because it just so happened they were playing in the NFC game on Sunday.

So a perfect little treat to celebrate. If you didn’t know, the Eagles won the Conference and are on their way to Super Bowl LVII.

Celebrate with cupcakes

It’s a celebration worthy of cupcakes.

I cherish this gesture, the delicious cupcakes, and the sweet message that came with it. Given the friend’s text message, she knew what it would mean to me and what it meant to her. It is in giving that we receive.

It touched my heart profoundly.

She knows I love the cake from this baker, and she grew to love them, too, over the years as we celebrated many different life events together. My dad loved cake/cupcakes and adored this friend who dropped off the treat. She also adored him and always spent time chatting with him and my mom at our many celebrations held in our home over the years.

Sometimes if my dad couldn’t get to the bakery to pick up a cake for a specific gathering, this friend would graciously pick it up for me from my old neighborhood.

Friends and loved ones do things like that. They go out of their way even if it isn’t around the corner. And they love us well by remembering and honoring us, especially in hard times.

She knows our life is challenged by many things. I know she also knows the heartache of loss after recently losing her dad and, years ago, her mom, who fought valiantly against cancer.

We never stop thinking about our loved ones who are no longer with us, but we remember them more dearly at certain times.

My dad has recently been on my heart, given the Philadelphia Eagles were doing so well and moving closer to the Super Bowl. By now, you know they won the NFC and are headed to the Super Bowl in two weeks.

Did I already say that.

We are excited. They are playing the Kansas City Chiefs, and there is also some beautiful irony in that for us, too. That is a story for another day.

About Cake

I occasionally get asked why I write about cake. Enjoying and sharing cake is a fantastic way to remember sweet memories and celebrations.

Also, we just love delicious cake.

After my dad passed away, I wrote my first blog post as my tribute to him. Writing is My Cake. My dad knew I loved to write as much as he loved the Eagles. My dad loved his Eagles as much as he loved eating cake—we both love cake.

It’s likely he loved the Eagles more. I probably love writing more.

He rarely watched the Eagles anywhere but in front of his own TV. We had a “pre”-Super Bowl Party in 2018, so he could go home to watch the game. My dad really got drawn into the game. He loved the sport and not talking while watching the game. I loved him for that.

After the Eagles won yesterday, I thought of the FaceTime call with my dad after the Super Bowl win in 2018. The kids were banging pots and yelling with so much joy. He was thrilled about this big win and satisfied he didn’t stay at my noisy house to watch the game. He waited decades for his team to win. He needed to watch without distraction to take it all in.

He used to take us to watch the training camps when we were younger, and I had to learn the game by watching, never by asking. Later in life, I learned a lot from Jon, and now I know a lot from my son.

I still have questions.

As we were getting ready for game day on Sunday, I tried to find my dad’s 2018 NFC sweatshirt. I couldn’t even find Jon’s Eagles gear. All kinds of feelings came to the surface between the favorite cupcakes, the Eagles playing, and trying to come to terms with some things about our life.

Then I remembered Ian telling me where his Eagles Jersey was that his dad could wear. I helped Jon get dressed in that sweatshirt. Then my son texted me a selfie—he was wearing my dad’s sweatshirt. Apparently, he hung on to that.

I may have been eating green cupcakes and shedding a few green tears.

We grew up attending only a few games. In fact, it made my dad mad how much they charged for tickets and sweatshirts. So we learned to avoid the energetic crowds and watch from home. Things like that made him frustrated. I insisted and bought him and my mom Conference sweatshirts when they won in 2018. My mom gave those sweatshirts to Ian.

Maybe because he had different priorities; he’s likely rolling his eyes at the insane prices of tickets and merch these days. Maybe he was on to something.

But I digress.

Sundays and Football.

We learned Sundays (and Monday nights) were for football and minimal conversation; it was “endearing” to not be allowed to talk or ask questions until the game was over. And let’s hope they won said game, or there would be little conversation after, except when the armchair coach recapped everything wrong with the game.

We learned it was best the game announcer on the television was silenced to allow Merrill Reese to give a play-by-play of the game over the radio. Not unlike Ritchie Ashburn’s familiar voice blasting through a transistor radio on my grandmother’s porch when the Phillies played. You don’t have to be a Philly team fan/phan to understand the love of a city team and the announcers who cared as much about the teams they commentated.

These all stir feelings for teams in a city we love so much and who just want a victory.

It gives a city of love an ounce of hope.

The City of Brotherly Love loves its teams. I am sure most do. The fans are the heart and soul of Philly. They are passionate, loud, sometimes unhinged, and occasionally colorful with their words. Still, they are loyal people who rally around and love their teams.

They pour into the teams and the streets and still try to climb the greased poles to show all of their brotherly love.

It’s a Philly Thing, they say.

This week our city, its outskirts, and its suburbs will be lit up with green lights and waves of green shirts in support of our team.

It’s the color of hope.

We have so much hope.

The Philadelphia phans want another win.

We want another win too

We saw a sea of green in the pews and stores on Sunday before and after the win as Philadelphians poured into the streets celebrating the NFC win and hoping for another Super Bowl parade in a few weeks.

I am grateful for the enthusiasm of this city. I pulled out my green gear and only colored (green) Christmas lights and stuck them in my front planters to light up our house with that hope and support.

Vintage Gear

We are a city of loyal fans, even if we don’t tailgate and make our way faithfully to the city for weekly games. We continue to make our way to the city often for something else.

We gather in our homes and famous watering holes across the city and region with our loved ones to cheer on our favorite teams.

There’s no denying some of us are more die-hard fans than others.

During an appointment last week, a nurse ready to deliver her first baby shared that she would NOT miss Sunday’s game. The baby would have to wait even if the doctor said she should be induced. She’s been at high risk entire pregnancy. She told us her emergency plan to deliver that baby should she need to at the field, aka Linc. She had tickets to the game and was not about to miss that game.

She’s one of those devoted, die-hard Eagles fans.

Hopefully, she got to see that Conference game win. I can’t wait to find out how that story delivers.

Super Bowl and Babies

Speaking of babies and Super Bowls, in 2003, our second baby was due to arrive on January 30. Twenty years ago, the Super Bowl fell on the last Sunday in January. Being the loyal Eagles fan my dad was when I shared the baby’s due date, he said, “Well, if that baby comes early, I won’t come to the hospital until the Super Bowl is over, especially if the Iggles aka Eagles are in the game.”

I laughed and rolled my eyes at his loyalty to this sport—armchair die-hard fan.

I am grateful he ingrained a love for supporting our teams. He also, indirectly—by observation—taught me the value of a healthy respect for loyalties to a game vs. priorities in life. There is a lesson in this for all of us, I am sure.

Lucky for me the Eagles were not in the Super Bowl that year, and my son was born a day late.

Lucky for us, my dad did come to the hospital with my mom and my oldest, Sophia, who was 2 at the time. He brought our baby girl in to say hi to us just before the baby was born, and then they were in our room immediately after our baby boy was born.

I’ll never forget Jon’s shock and joy when he announced and clapped “It’s a boy.”

Jon won the game of life.

My parents and Sophia waited in the cafeteria until it was okay to come to the room and meet the baby.

It was beautiful, and there was no competition with a Super Bowl.

Obviously, my dad was incredibly proud as he entered our room carrying a piece of cake. He bought Sophia a slice of cake from the cafeteria to celebrate the birth of her baby brother and Jon having a son. There is always cake.

I’ll never forget my dad leaning in to tell Jon, “That baby boy right there is fortunate to have you for a dad. You are already a great one with your little girl, but now you have a son who you’ll get to toss a ball and watch the Super Bowl with.”

Ball was Ian’s first word, then momma, dad, and “Han,” his name for his beloved big sister.

Jon and Ian have watched many games together—Phillies, Flyers, and our beloved Eagles—aka Iggles, to those who know.

Over the years, we watched many games as a family and filled our house with fans cheering for a team they loved or hardly cared about when our hometown team didn’t make the big game.

We miss those days of opening our home dearly. I longed for this just this past weekend. The kids do too.

I always learned something about the game and the gift of gathering, to cheer for the best team to win even if it wasn’t your team, and you just never know how a game will go.

Sometimes the underdog wins just because.

The best plays still give us a good win, but sometimes things are beyond our control. No matter the stats.

My son often surprises me with his knowledge of the stats of so many sports. My dad was like that too. He just knew sports, the players, and things like that. They would have had much to talk about this year between the Phillies and the Eagles.

We really need this win.

Like Jon, Ian is always very patient with explaining and sharing details during the games. Distance didn’t matter for this game; we texted throughout it. I was careful not to ask too much or give away plays. Apparently, he had a delay in Ohio. I almost blew a few great plays.

See why I learned to not talk during games. But I may have said a few colorful words. Keeping it real.

It was fun to watch part of the game together, just like in the past.

We are going to the Super Bowl

My heart is tender today as I write these words.

Thinking about my dad, the cupcakes from a friend, the Eagles winning today, the Eagles winning the Super Bowl only months before my dad found eternal rest in 2018, my son’s upcoming 20th birthday, and, truth be told, the future of sports in this house.

It’s moments like this I ponder all of it. When I spoke to a writing coach this past week, we talked about how we look back to inform our future, especially when we have stories to tell.

We all have stories to tell.

On Tuesday, we celebrate 2 decades with that boy whom I often say is our gracious gift. Maybe that sounds like pressure for him—it’s more like that’s simply the name he was given, even if not at first. Ian means gracious gift of God and he is that.

On Tuesday, we will also drive to the city not for a game, but for another MRI and learn where things are or may be going on this aggressive brain cancer journey.

Like so many other MRIs in the past, we’ve been waiting for this.

We continue to pray for a complete and total healing miracle.

We continue to pray for time.

I am unsure how I feel about the MRI falling on our son’s birthday, given it could give us a less-than-favorable outcome.

I also believe there is a gift in it.

No matter the outcome, I know we will celebrate God’s gracious gift, who will turn 20 even if he is several hundred miles away, even if the news we receive isn’t what we want. Life is a gift.

I’m choosing hope.

I trust God has his hands all over the details of this story. He continues to show me this in so many ways.

Look how those cupcakes landed in my mailbox. Like a pre-celebration for the game win, a reminder the veil is thin—my dad is still very near, the upcoming 20th birthday, and whatever else Tuesday brings.

There is something beautiful in having this gift of life to celebrate at such a time as this. Likely we’ll have cake on Tuesday.

And with the Conference win, we were given another gift. As we drive around and through the city on Tuesday, we will take time to notice. We will be reminded by the green lights and shirts that our beloved city is praying and hoping for another big win.

We are praying and hoping for a few big wins, too.

We have made this drive many times during this journey over these past 2-1/2 years. It will be incredible to see the city lit up in green.

There’s gotta be some hope in that.

On Tuesday, maybe you could send up a few prayers for the gift of healing and for an MRI that yields a good report. Perhaps you would also have a cupcake to celebrate the 20th birthday of our beautiful boy who loves the Eagles, who is patient when we ask questions about sports, and who, by the grace of God, wasn’t born on Super Bowl Weekend.

Super Bowl Win 2018

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