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Letters to my Daughter: Ice Cream

We bought ice cream today. Royal Banana Split. Three flavors with three toppings, all in one carton. It’s Neapolitan on steroids with chunks and fruit and chocolatey swirls. It smells like an ice cream parlor when you peel back the lid.

Shortly after we got home from the store, you came clamoring into the house. I was still putting away the groceries, had just tucked our dessert into the freezer, when you breathlessly begged at my hips, the ice cream truck, can we get something from the ice cream truck?

Uh, no.

You seemed a little taken aback by my rapid response. Had I not heard you? It’s the ICE CREAM TRUCK. Please, please? I have a dollar.

No, not tonight. We already have dessert waiting. What I wanted to say was: I read you the description on the ice cream carton, you chose the one you liked best, I bought it and don’t want to ruin your appetite for it with a one dollar, frostbitten, Bomb Pop.

After a heavy sigh, you ran back outside.

I put away the rest of our groceries and thought how I wish you had stayed and we could have talked more about waiting for the best and not jumping for what’s easy or fast or driving slowly down our street in a musical truck with pictures of Sponge Bob and Power Puff Girls, frozen and on sticks with bubble gumballs for eyes.

But you are only five and this is a big lesson, one that some people never learn.

You see, we are all designed for the best. Trouble is, so many of us get caught up in the here and now and the it feels good (and who is it hurting anyhow?) moments that we lose ourselves. Piece by piece, bit by bit, we leave a trail of ourselves behind until, if we’re lucky, we wake up and start the process of finding our way home again, Hansel and Gretel style.

But, Lila, that’s a whole forest of questionable memories to backtrack through and a whole lot of pieces to try and glue back together.

Be satisfied with what you have. Be thankful and be patient. Save yourself a world of hurt and heartache.

This isn’t a matter of good things coming to those who wait, it’s a matter of your God preparing good things for you – blessings, relationships, a solid future. And the joy you’ll find in what he has in store will make everything else seem, well, like a pile of Bomb Pop wrappers and Popsicle sticks – colored sugar water, trash, a mess.

Don’t be deceived by the jingle on the truck – or, someday, by the grin of the first boy to tell you you’re pretty (and certainly, not ever by the people who will try to make you feel less than worthy of goodness.)

Save your appetite, Bean. You are worth more than you understand. Don’t settle for a Bomb Pop when you have a specially chosen, Royal Banana Split Sundae waiting.

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