We had ice cream for dinner again last night. It used to be that when this urge would come upon us, I would be a diligent parent, prepare a meal, and we would eat it, so we could then dive into dessert with unrestrained gusto. Well as life became busy and children increased in number, somehow I started forgoing the meal and just serving the ice cream. This felt like such a failure on my part, I mean what kind of parent serves ice cream for dinner, but as time has gone by and we still indulge in this pleasure occasionally, I have come to realize, what I considered a failure, is actually the better thing for us to do, for we were going to eat the ice cream regardless, so why not cut out the superfluous calories of the meal, and besides, ice cream is more scrumptious when you are hungry, not full. Additionally I have been told by my adult children that the supposed illicitness of this activity added to their enjoyment, along with the envy of their friends as they shared my “failure as a mom” at school.
Well anyway, last night as I enjoyed my Haagen-Dazs strawberry, it dawned on me that many of my fond childhood memories might be an occurrence of what my mother might have considered her failures too. A few of my favorites were picnics on the floor, watermelon lunches, and broken down cars.
I can look back and see that those picnics were often popcorn and such, things we could eat with our fingers while sitting on a blanket, most likely because she was too busy with a project or costume for one of her children to have found the time to put together a traditional meal, but to me this change of pace felt like a party.
Those sticky watermelon lunches were presented as way to make as big of a mess as we wanted spitting the seeds at each other without fear of chastisement. When in reality, it was summertime and school was out, and she was most likely banishing us from the house so that she could have a few minutes of peace alone before she lost her mind.
However, I think I liked best the times when the car broke down and we were stranded until help came. I am sure for her this must have happened all too frequently, because she carried survival kits for the occasion. She would pull out a blanket, find a spot to wait, and then she would entertain us. We had her undivided attention, because all the many things she had to do were not there with us, and annoyed as she most have been, she was relaxed.
I wonder if she realizes what frivolity she could turn adversity into, how it brought out her creativity, and that by doing so, she taught her children valuable lessons, to find a way to make what your given in life fun, but more importantly, the idea that it is okay to color out side of the lines and be different, for out there in those undefined areas, lies adventure.