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Dreams Do Come True, My Daughter

As the weather warms up, this family spends as much time as we possibly can out-of-doors. We’ll go for bike rides; we’ll play in the park – for HOURS; we’ll take books, snacks, and a blanket to our neighborhood pond and lie on the grass for hours reading books and feeding the ducks – really, we’ll do anything to simply hang out in the great outdoors.

With all this time spent outside comes a lot of great things – fresh air, vitamin D, lots of exercise, seeing our neighbors – and one bad thing: the ice cream truck. I swear, that guy waits until we leave the house, hiding around the corner, then fires up his tinkly little music and starts stalking us. EVERY SINGLE TIME we are outdoors we hear his music, and Cora always turns to me and says, “Mommy, PLEASE may we get an ice cream? PLEASE? Just this once?”

EVERY SINGLE TIME I have to say no to the kids – and not just because I want to. But I never bring money with me on our outings; why would I need to? So every single time, I promise Cora we’ll get ice cream the next time Mommy has money when the Ice Cream Guy is around.

Yesterday was that day.

I picked the girls up from school loaded down with bounty: a blanket, several favorite books, chocolate milk and popcorn, and a bag full of loaf heels for the ducks. We headed straight for the duck pond and snuggled together, reading and playing and turtle-watching, for over an hour.

And then, sure enough, we heard that music start up.

I was lying on the blanket by myself, watching the girls play in the drainage ditch at the end of the pond. As soon as the tinkling began, I looked – not towards the music, but towards Cora. Just a few notes into it, Cora’s head popped up like a bloodhound getting a whiff of a duck, and she came running over to me.

Respectfully and resignedly, Cora stood in front of me, her hands folded in her lap. “Mommy, did you happen to bring any money today? And if so, may we please have an ice cream?”

She was almost turning away to go back to her game when I said “yes”.

Cora stopped and shook her head, as if she didn’t quite hear right and was having trouble trusting her ears. Then a smile split her face and she ran, screaming, back to Maddie. “Maddie! SHE HAS MONEY!!”

I headed towards my purse, laughing as my puppies began scrambling down the street, hair streaming behind them. The ice cream guy had CLEARLY seen us and was heading our way, but the girls were so afraid he’d leave or, more likely, Mommy would change her mind, that they were practically lying down in front of the truck to make him pull over.

The day was perfect in its faux spring-ness, and as a queue began to form in front of the truck, I stood back and watched the girls, smiling and laughing and chattering excitedly with friends as they studied the menu and pondered on what the best selection might be. I could see the girls’ joy in being part of the scene, FINALLY in the midst of the ice cream truck chaos rather than watching wistfully from the fringe.

As we walked back to our blanket the girls chomped excitedly on their sundae crunch bars, delightedly licking drippy fingers and squealing happily with friends. When we got back to our blanket they threw themselves down contentedly and ate in silence as I read some more.

As we packed up later to head home, Cora smiled and said, “This has been the best day ever!” Maddie agreed, saying, “Can we just re-do this afternoon over and over and over?”

It’s amazing what three bucks will buy you.


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