This story is about ice cream. In order to fully appreciate the story, we might have to go back to the beginning.
My dad was a tall, lanky Dutchman with a hard-working attitude and appetite to match. His family of tall, lanky Dutchmen was rough around the edges and maintained a tenuous (at best) relationship with civilized people.
My mother and her parents, on the other hand, were diminutive people who had a sitting room and ate ice cream in tiny little bowls with all the manners required of polite society.
In 1980, when my mom and dad were dating (how that came about is a different story), he would drive 30 minutes to her house to see her after working all day on the farm. From what I've been told the 30 minutes were like seconds in his mind because of his great love for her. But that's beside the point; this is about ice cream.
My mother's parents would dutifully serve my dad a little dish of ice cream as they visited courteously and he would accept it with the utmost graciousness, eating it in two bites. Then my mom and dad got married.
Did I mention my dad's farm sold its milk to Darigold? Well, my parents got married and Darigold products soon filled their home. Milk, of course, but also sour cream, butter, and...ice cream. Now that the vows had been recited and the deal had been sealed, my mom got to see a different side of my dad. A side that scoffed good-naturedly at tiny dishes and could eat a whole carton of ice cream in one sitting.
And so it was that I grew up learning the ways of the ice cream lover. I took to the habit with natural skill and can, to this day, also eat a whole carton of ice cream in one sitting...almost. Now, our budget doesn't allow for frivolous dairy purchases, nor can our waistlines accommodate it, but we do tend to stock our freezer with a decent variety of ice cream. My favorite is anything with lots and lots of chocolate in it.
So that brings us to a parenting moment that might not win me any Mother of the Year Awards, but it is one that I have no doubt my dad would understand, if he were here today.
After dinner, I occasionally let my kids have a cup of ice cream from my stash. However, there'd been a carton of ice cream in my freezer for awhile that I was having trouble finishing off. In fact, it had been mocking me. I rarely meet an ice cream flavor I don't like but I just wasn't a fan of this one (it will remain unnamed because I don't have the heart to call out a dairy product that has done nothing wrong). So, my kids had done a good job eating their dinner and I had an idea.
The fact that it was close to bedtime did not deter me, nor did the fact that the kids had dentist appointments coming up. I took out the unwanted ice cream, which was freezer-burned almost beyond recognition, and scooped them out big, heaping bowls. I mean, I piled it on. This carton was not going back in my freezer.
My kids were delighted and didn't even question why I wasn't having any myself. Not being ice cream connoisseurs, they didn't notice the weird flavor or the freezer burn and I let them enjoy their moment. Then I happily threw the carton in the garbage and got the kids ready for bed. Can anyone guess what happened next?
As soon as the ranks were in their respective beds and the lights were off, I went back to the freezer for my own ice cream. Something more to my liking. Double Triple Chocolate with Fudge Swirls and Peanut Butter Cups or something like that. I didn't bother with a bowl, I just took the carton and a spoon and sat down on the couch.
As often happens, one of the boys came back upstairs a little while later to go the bathroom.
"You're eating ice cream without us?" he asked, half asleep but awake enough to be incredulous.
I took another huge bite of chocolate goodness right in his fact and snickered. "You already had yours."