As kids I loved ice cream, so as an adult, I’m building my legacy out of ice cream.
Since I was a young boy I always enjoyed treats after dinner of a lolly or what was called back then as a ‘funny face lolly pop’.
It was a simple pink sugar filled lollypop that was called funny face and had a wrapper on it that was the advertising to all the yumminess inside.
Mum would offer us one after dinner and as she put the square clear plastic container on the table in front of us once we had cleaned our plates from everything that was on it to the point where we had almost removed the colour off the surface.
There would sit this square plastic container with a light blue coloured lid and inside lay all these sicks with yumminess on the end.
As I grew older and had kids of my own, I remember looking back and see how fortunate we are to now have the money to enjoy a wider variety of deserts and treats that was just never possible when my sibling and I were young.
The four of us would look forward to the Sunday special of jelly and fruit or ice-cream and peach slices or home made custard.
It made family dinner and Sunday night dessert something I will never forget and to my own children’s horror, they are well aware of the story and the eyes roll inside their heads each time I begin to share the story over and over,
before one cuts me off and finishes my recollections word for word as if they must have been sitting at the same table when I was a child.
Fast forward 30 years later and my relationship wth my kids has always been good but it is the time spent doing the little things that has made the most difference.
So many times my own father has asked what my 4 kids have wanted as each birthday approaches.
Over and over again I would repeat the same story and request.
You were always working to provide when I was a kid and I appreciate that, but I wish we could have just gone down to the store and had an ice cream together, but I don’t remember if we ever did.
Now as my kids have come along, you can get to do with with them instead.
So take them to the store, buy the ice-cream, sit outside and just sit and listen to them and their stories, and share yours with them whilst you both eat the ice cream together.
Then walk them to the playground and push them on the swing.
Get involved with them and let them see you are interested in seeing them play and have fun. That is the best thing you can ever give them.
Long story short, they never got the ice-cream nor ever went to the park together.
One of the best things I have done with all my own kids is to sit in the park and push the swing, watch and laugh at each other as the ice cream or ice blocks melt and run down to our elbows and create more fun and laughter together than I ever expected.
Those memories of sitting in the park and watching the kids fill their faces with fun and laughter with the excitement of climbing, swinging, exploring and showing me what they can do, are the best memories and gifts I have ever received.
Watching their faces light up when we go to the store and buy the ice creams and share them with time and no restrictions upon us, are carved in stone.
I hope my own children remember these memories in the same way, and create the same special moments with their own kids one day with their own families.
The joy of my kids insisting we take the dogs on our walks to the store so they can buy ice cream for the dogs too was priceless.
Watching the kids wrestle with the dogs was comical and all training had been forgotten, as their four legged friends knew why they were there and what was coming was so much fun.
The kids were eager to share the ice cream with their best friends and the dogs would be licking their lips and salivating at the desert they would devour in 10 seconds flat as if they were going to receive another one.
Seeing my kids sitting on the concrete steps with a kid’s best 4 legged friend and enjoying their special times together is what family to me is all about.
The fuss and decisions they would make regarding which is the best ice-cream to buy for each dog and why they love them so much was incredibly beautiful to watch and be part of.
As my kids now range in their teenage years and 20’s, the memories of these experiences together are as strong as ever and it is one of the most fundamental processes I can remember that has given us the relationship of family I am incredibly grateful for.
The mobile phone was always left at home so there was no distraction and it was just our special time together.
On our walks to the park with the family dog even still, I notice all the parents sitting on the seats and thumbing through their mobile phones, looking up just long enough to smile at little Johnny or Sally and missing out on the very best parts of being a parent.
I wish more people would leave their phones at home or in the purse, handbag or car, just long enough so when their kids look up, they see the value the parents have in their children is more interesting than anything they can find on their phones.
Perhaps stand along side them as they explore and navigate the playground equipment, cheering them on and encouraging them to stretch and climb to higher levels.
Helping their children overcome some of their fears knowing mum and dad are there if they fall, not sitting on a bench 30 meters away playing with or talking on their phones.
It is how parents used to be involved with raising kids, and it’s what all kids love.
After all, isn’t it a wonder why we cannot get kids, young adults and teenagers off their devices….
… they had excellent teachers and they are watching adults do the same thing everywhere.
We are all guilty of being on our phones when we should be enjoying the moment long enough to show our kids just where our attention and enjoyment really comes from.
We were the ones that decided to create a family and I realised very early on, that those funny face lollypops and Sunday night family ice creams would one day come to and end.
I love taking my kids to get an ice cream, see them flourish in the world we have created, and how they inspire me to be a better Dad than the one I started out to become.
Long may the parks be filled with parents and families engaging with their kids and encouraging them by being there with them for a few moments longer than just a quick photo opportunity to share on they Facebook page, instagram or snap chat profile.
Kids grow up way faster than we realise and they will copy what we do.
I am so glad my kids still love ice cream and the times we spend together just being with each other.
This week marked the 6th week I had been stuck in my bed from a back injury and have not been able to walk or go out.
Tuesday night my 14 year old son came in to my bedroom at night and asked if he could walk down to the store alone and buy us each an ice cream.
He went on his own, came back some 25 minutes later, lay on my bed with me and we just talked.
We shared ice creams together, and it was magnificent to spend that special time with just us.
My son was creating a legacy that started with the memory he had created in his mind and the one he gave me.
It was not about the ice cream but it was certainly about the time together that the ice cream gave us both.
On Friday my Miss 15 made and shared a fruit smoothie with me.
We just lay there and talked about stuff going on in her life that made us laugh.
These moment are priceless and the gift they gave me was not the ice cream he went to the store alone to buy – or the smoothie she made for us to share,
it was the moment shared together just us being a family.
With my eldest daughter driving from her home and job some 4.5 hours away, the first thing she does when she arrives and has spent some time with her mum, is come up the hallways and greet me with her gorgeous smile and filled the room with joy and laughter.
She came armed with a special oils she had made to put onto my back and help ease the pain and just sit and spend time with me.
This is what being a Dad is all about and the best gift my kids can ever give me has been the time they want to share and the love they feel because of the family we have created together over smoothies and ice creams.
Our other daughter has been over seas helping other kids for the last 4 months and she returns in the next few weeks.
With so many stories to share and photos to look at when she returns…. I can’t wait to see her again and just lie there and share an ice cream or smoothie together and see how she has been experiencing all the incredible things in this world.
Happy Father’s day to ALL the Dads out there and the men and women in all our kid’s lives, who help them show that we the people care about them and how the power of an ice cream can build or re-build families.
The funny face lollypops may not be on the table anymore and my own mum has since passed away 2 years ago, but the memories live on and the lollypops just turned into ice cream.
For the health conscious parents which we are all best to be, we walk off the calories on our long walks back home, sharing more moments and memories together as we get the exercise we need.
One day will be our last ice cream, but until that day comes, I am building my legacy out of ice cream.
.. and hope you find the time to build your legacy and family
using something so simple as time and ice cream.
I eat much less today, but I will always love ice cream for what it has done for my family.