During my last visit with my parents in Ohio, as I brushed my teeth before going to bed, my dad called out, like I’ve heard him a thousand times, “Lori Lee, I’ve got some nice, fluffy ice cream here, if you want some…” I went out to the kitchen to see my mom in “her” chair, in a housecoat, sitting on one leg tucked under her, bare feet (always bare feet), enjoying a bowl of ice cream. My dad was, of course, in “his” chair, sitting on the edge of the seat, shoes on (always shoes on), looking content, eating his ice cream. I come from two ice cream loving parents. When I was little, my dad would reward us for helping with yard work by buying Globs for us. Globs were a “special” treat that our local ice cream shack sold on sweltering hot summer days. They were piles of leftover vanilla ice cream on a stick, dunked in chocolate. They were awkward shapes – awkward to eat and delicious. They were sold 4 for $1 – perfect for the tough economic times in our area that we were personally experiencing. Buying ice cream was a rare treat that was thoroughly savored.
As I looked at my parents sitting at the table, my mind flashed back to the years of this same scene repeating and it made my heart soften, thankful. I realized again that I’m getting older and things are changing and I don’t know how many more times I’ll see them like this – healthy, peaceful, content. I was more acutely feeling the fact that no one is promised a tomorrow. My parents are both retired now, which has been a strange mental adjustment for me. This was a milestone and I found that I wasn’t ready for it.
I wanted to freeze time, to capture that moment of walking into the kitchen as mom and dad sat in their chairs together, contentedly eating a nighttime bowl of ice cream… but not only that moment, but the history that preceded that moment. The good and the bad, piled together that make up our history together.
What are the moments in your family that you’d love to hang on to? What do those moments communicate to you about who you are and who your family is? What memories surface?