Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Improving on Ice Cream

So, just so we are all on the same page, ice cream is awesome. Just try to frown while licking an ice cream cone; I dare you. It’s impossible. Chris and my first date was to eat ice cream and I am pretty sure that is why I fell in love with him. Cream, sugar, a few egg yolks, they are a direct line to my heart. I didn’t think that there could be anything better than eating a deliciously rich and creamy gelato after a long day. But it turns out, I was wrong.

My dad has been chomping at the bit to spoil our little BOGOs since before they were a twinkle in my eye. So, when I offered him the chance to give them their first taste of ice cream for their first birthday, he and my mom couldn’t get tickets to Seoul fast enough. I was looking forward to the maiden taste of ice cream for the girls, but probably not as much as my parents were. I expected the girls to enjoy this new treat more than pureed broccoli, for example, but anticipated that the cold, sweet bite might be a shock to their vegetally-habituated palates. Nonetheless, shortly after my parents touched down in Korea, we packed everyone up and headed off to the best ice cream shop in town.

After carefully selecting the perfect flavors for the first taste, we sat down for the main event. The immediate reaction after the initial spoonful was about what I expected.

Then, as soon as they were able to realize what had just happened in their mouths, their caution melted away into pure elation.

Here they were, thinking that applesauce was the zenith of cuisine and, bam! Ice cream enters the picture. They had just experienced the best thing to happen to taste buds since mashed up bananas. And, of course, they couldn’t get enough of the stuff. But here’s the thing. We couldn’t get enough of watching them enjoy it! Though we ordered a couple of ice creams for ourselves, I am pretty sure that the majority was consumed by the birthday girls.

And that is when I realized how much parenthood changes you. Taking the girls to get their first ice cream was one of the best experiences of my life. Why? Because I got to witness my kids experience joy. Pure, unbridled joy. The kind that only ice cream can generate. Witnessing that was immeasurably better than eating my own ice cream. And so, I get it. I get why parents pay astronomical prices and wait in dreadfully long serpentine lines at Disney World. I get why “Santa” stays up all night trying to put the new bike together before morning. I get why parents push play on the Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long video for the 187th time. There is nothing better in this world than to see your kid happy. So, Grandparents, spoil away! Just let me be there to watch.

I think that this revelation calls for a celebration. Ice cream anyone?