Dear Mr. Ice Cream Truck man,
As a child I lived on a busy road, there was no ice cream truck to deliver frosty goodness to me on a hot summer's day. I remember going to visit my grandparents who lived on a lake in a small subdivision, we would be floating on inner tubes looking for turtles when the glorious sound of "it's a small world" would come tinkling down the road. We would paddle as fast as we could with our arms back to shore, screaming "wait!!!! I have money!!!"
Dripping lake water all over grandma's house as we scrounged up some change, as fast as we could.
The reward for our feets of endurance was a red white and blue Popsicle, or an orange cream push pop. Dripping down our arms, as we hurried to eat them before they melted, laying on our spread out beach towels in the driveway.
Happy times were had by all Mr. Ice Cream man...
Fast forward to today. My kids live much more sheltered lives than I ever did.
Notice that in the above story, I never mentioned an adult except the ice cream dude. There were no parents or grandparents hovering over us as we made the intense decision between red or green Popsicle. No parents making sure we looked both ways while crossing the sub division road. No parents shelling out cash either, we had earned that change by doing jobs like delivering papers, or babysitting the neighborhood kids at the ripe old age of nine.
It is officially summer time here in Michigan. We live in a big sub division full of kids. The ice cream truck still comes down the roads at about 6 pm...after we've fed our kids a healthy meal and made sure their home work is done.
My kids get that wild look in their eyes like they are entranced by the pied piper. They hear the tinkling songs before I do, and they race to clutch their hard earned dollars in their grubby little hands.
Here is a turning point in my life as a parent:
Helicopter mom would grab a hold of each one's hand and use this as a lesson in street safety, stranger danger, and common core math. (Because it's always about common core math for cripe's sake!)
But today I am reminiscent.
Perhaps the plucky tune coming from the truck has switched THAT mom off, and turned me back into the kid who had to jump back into the lake to wash off her Popsicle covered arms.
I stand in the front window...behind the curtain, and send them off to the truck alone. They both look for cars, and approach the truck. I see their happy little faces hem and haw over their choices, ultimately deciding on a treat. They hand the lady driving the truck their grubby wrinkled up dollar bills ( wait...a buck for a popsicle!?!) and head back home victorious!
They were not kidnapped, or hit by a car. I think they even gained some confidence.
So thank you ice cream truck drivers everywhere. Thank you for helping me remember those lazy summer days, spent with my cousins , governing ourselves all summer long. Thank you for helping me to let go a little today, and letting my kids have a sliver of the freedom that I enjoyed over countless dripping frosty treats.
Also...thanks for not being a creepy kidnapper...