6

Nov 12

The Ice-cream Days Are Over

Remember the days when an ice-cream was enough to make you happy or shift the mood?  Or a chocolate bar?  Or any delicious food thing that felt special?  I remember realizing in a concrete way when I was a teenager that those days were over.  Going to Baskin-Robbins was no longer going to cut it.

I had a similar realization yesterday about my older son:  his ice-cream days are over.   His depth of feeling and comprehension on a gut level of how difficult/disappointing/frustrating/sad life can be has hit a new level.  That’s not to say that things didn’t upset him deeply, even at a young age.  It’s just that before, even the worst things could be soothed by ice-cream or something like that.  When he was just over two and half years old my father died.  I still remember him walking in the room before we told him.  He knew.  He knew and felt that something big had happened.  And, without having the words to describe it, he knew it was sad.  But that sadness or feeling, whatever it was, didn’t step in the way of pleasure.  In fact, there was room for both.

Now he’s a teenager with more independence, more complicated hopes and dreams, more pressure on himself and surely from others.  And I feel sad for him that his ice-cream days are over.  As I watched him struggle the other night, I immediately thought of making and buying food he likes.  I had been on a semi-cooking strike …protesting the lack of appreciation I sometimes feel from my family for all the food I make, but seeing him struggle my instinct was to feed him, both physically and metaphorically.  And although food may not provide the cure-all that ice-cream once did, I believe that it nourishes him in important ways.