When we first moved in I noticed that this neighborhood had an ice cream truck that came by in the evenings and I couldn't wait to share this wonderful experience from my childhood with Ellie. As a kid I would always get the sherbert cup with a gumball at the bottom and I loved to eat the gum while it was still frozen and hear it crack apart in my mouth. That's probably the reason Jeremy says my teeth have cracks in them now. It was worth it though!
When Jeremy was deployed to Kuwait and I moved back in with my parents, Ellie was just a few months old. My dad and I would spend many lazy summer afternoons on their wrap around porch lined with white rocking chairs and sip on Arnold Palmers. We would often wait for the ice cream truck to come by so my Father could get something. He would say, "I want you to look at this guy, really look at him. He's on something, I just know it. I betcha he's selling more than ice cream out of this truck." But that never stopped him from getting a sweet. He's never met an ice cream he didn't like. While I on the other hand was bound and determined to get rid of the whale's ass I had developed during pregnancy. So I would just watch him eat his patriot pop and wave it in my face saying, "Are you surrrrrrre you don't want some?" To which I would reply, "Look at me! I have cellulite on my eyelids, NO I DON'T want any!" And he would dance away with a Cheshire cat grin and blue syrup running down his hand.
The ice cream truck is so intrinsically tied to everything that is good about summer and even now that I'm an adult and don't usually get anything, I love to hear it's music as it goes by and watch the children run to it like it is some kind of vehicular pied piper.
A couple of days ago I mentioned to Ellie that after dinner the ice cream man would come and we would get some ice cream. Something about those three words must have unlocked her infant memories of my Dad giving her licks of his Popsicle while I stood by having a nervous breakdown about the sugar "destroying her pure system". She acted as though it was the most tragic thing a person could have said and threw herself on the floor and sobbed for the "ice keem maaaaayyyyyyy-uuuuunnnnn!"
None of my attempts to console her worked. I offered candy, ponies, hell I even offered to let her get a tattoo when she turns five, but she continued to cry. And this wasn't your run of the mill temper tantrum cry with alligator tears. This was "I am Juliette and I have just awoken to discover Romeo dead beside me" crying.
There was nothing we could do but try to get through dinner and wait for him. And whatever we did we had to avoid saying anything that even rhymed with ice cream. So we waited. And we waited. And he never came. I wanted to go find him and scream, "There is a child dying of a broken heart in here because she's in love with the ice cream truck and you go around every day with your pretty chimes and promises of a sugar induced buzz and then you DON'T come! What kind of monster are you?" But he just never came and it was lucky for him too. I put Ellie to bed and wiped her little red eyes and told her that maybe he would come tomorrow.
SO the next day I was in the middle of folding laundry upstairs when I hear the chimes off in the distance. It's two o'clock for the love 'O laundry, what the heck is this guy playing at? (Aside: I have ALWAYS wanted to grab someone, glare at them and say, "Just what are you playin at?") I yelled at Ellie who was in the basement watching a movie, that the ice cream man was here and then I ran up three flights of stairs two at a time, flung my purse open and frantically searched for my wallet. I found it, ran down four flights of stairs into the basement, grabbed my kid, jumped over two dogs and ran to the front door. Because, by God, we weren't going to miss this. Even if it meant I was going to give myself a heart attack.
When she saw the truck with all it's sugary delights plastered on the side and heard the music, the grin on her face was well worth the tears of the night before. We ordered a patriot pop in honor of all the summers of my childhood, and my dad, and America Goddamn it! And my beautiful child when handed the popsicle yelled, "FANK YEWWWWWW!" And then waved bye.
I relished every moment of her enjoying that huge, sugary thing and I didn't once think about the sugar or the mess or anything other than how precious this moment was.