Sometimes a simple moment in life can provide a lasting impact.
I realized this the other day, when I heard an ice cream truck coming down my street.
As the distinctive music of the ice cream truck tried to beckon children in our neighborhood, I immediately had a flashback to thirteen years before when my daughter was seven years old.
In our previous neighborhood the ice cream truck came down our street daily during the Summer time. Many times that Summer my young daughter begged for ice cream. Ice cream was and still is her favorite treat. Some days we would say yes to ice cream. On other days we would say no. Then there is that day I remember most. It was the day when Marissa took matters into her own hands.
She heard the obnoxious bells and music from the ice cream truck and sprung into action.
She wasn’t waiting for a yes or no from mom or dad. I heard the shake, shake, shake of her silver piggy bank and then I saw a blur. After that, I heard the front door opening then slamming shut. I looked out the window and saw Marissa chasing the ice cream truck.
Usually, the truck made a slow and methodical turn just past our house and then puttered slowly down the street. On this day however Marissa was doomed.
The ice cream truck driver seemed to be training for the Nascar Circuit. They zoomed down our street and kept going. Marissa’s little legs churned and she ran as fast as I had ever seen her run. I could see her waving her hand and yelling towards the truck. It was a valiant effort on my daughters part, but it was all for nothing. The ice cream truck was gone in a flash. Marissa trudged back home with six quarters squeezed in her tiny hand and no ice cream.
Her face was beat red and tears were streaming down her cheeks.
She was defeated and angry. She did not understand why the ice cream truck did not stop.
She sat on the front porch bench and yelled out “I want ice cream!” My wife and I wiped her tears, calmed her down and said “now is not a good time, but we could get ice cream later”. Marissa protested. It was as if she needed ice cream to survive. She wiped her last tear and went to her room to put the quarters away and pout. She was mad at the ice cream truck driver for ignoring her. She was also a little mad, that we didn’t drop everything and take her to get ice cream. Marissa was only seven, but she learned some valuable lessons that day and so did I.
She learned that life isn’t always fair.
She learned you don’t always get what you want.
She learned that sometimes you have to wait to get things you like.
She learned that your parents have to tell you no and it is for your own good whether you like it or not.
Thanks to my daughter’s pursuit of ice cream that day, I learned some things too.
I learned my daughter could be independent and take matters into her own hands, even at seven years old.
I learned that she could run fast.
I learned she knew the cost of ice cream and could count coins correctly.
I learned that you have to tell kids “no” even if they don’t like it.
I learned that some Ice cream truck drivers go way too fast in residential neighborhoods
I took away some additional important lessons that day that I still carry with me now!
I learned that as a parent, you have to be there for your kids especially when they suffer a defeat.
This is important whether they are seven, twenty seven or forty seven. Your kids need you when things are good, but they need you more when they are bad.
I learned that my daughter was going to be successful in life, because she knew how to think for herself and pursue what she wanted. It’s a great feeling for a parent when this happens and you see it in action.
My daughter helped me learn that it’s important to chase your dreams, even if you don’t catch them all. Every time I want to chase a new dream I think of my daughter chasing the ice cream truck.
As I reflect on that day and the wisdom I’ve gained since then, I think of the most important lesson I learned:
Always cherish the simple moments you have with your children.
Those memories are what life is all about, don’t let them melt away!