This summer my husband and I had some friends over for 4th of July. Normally, our child is safely ensconced in Detroit and we have a blissful month, where we act like we are child-free sophisticates once again. But this summer, she was home with us.
When she is in Detriot, we do wild things like eat dinner after 6 p.m., stay in bed until 10 a.m., read the paper all the way through without exclaiming "Emily!!", drink wine and other adult beverages and have really relaxed evenings in which I remember how and why I conceived this child in the first place.....Lovely Summer nights exactly like that.
So, we have friends over for the 4th and Emily is there. I proceed to drink ALOT of wine. In fact, we all drink alot of wine and allow our child to run around the yard with the flaming sticks of death that are sold under the brand name of "sparklers." [3 packs for a buck! Enough sparks to burn your house down - gar-un-teed! Your eye gets put out or your money back!]
Through our 3rd pitcher of sangria, I am a giggling mass of female. It hasn't gotten dark enough to see fireworks, but I am well on my way to full on drunken debauchery.
And then.......off in the distance....we hear it............it sounds like.........the song "the Entertainer".........which would make it............the theme song for............................
"The Ice Cream Man!!!", come the joyous cries of my child and her neighbor girl friend!
They tear off running - full tilt- in the direction of their houses, each running and screaming "I need money for the ice cream man! Mommy, please, mommy please can I have money for the ice cream man? Mommy?"
In my mind's eye,I really must admire myself . I am quite intoxicated. I also realize the importance of having money for the ice cream man - in a global kids memory way.
I leap up from the picnic table in the middle of our yard and begin to run - full tilt- toward our house. I am not a small woman, nor do I have a small bosom. I must have been HYSTERICAL to watch run from the picnic table. Like pee your sangria drinking pants funny.
I get into the house and empty my purse in my bedroom. I know this because I found it there the next day - emptied, upside down. I am too drunk to do things in an orderly manner. I find my change purse and then begin the run into the street to catch up with my child and the ice cream man. I have had several glasses of wine.
I should not be attempting to chase down the in a truck ice cream man on foot. About half way to the ice cream man, it occurs to me that I am not built to be running in this manner. But, I make it and thrust my wallet out to my child to take what ever she wants from within, as I bend over - hands on thighs- and begin panting in exhaustion and the whole hearted effort to not Keel over and begin to puke my guts out.
Emily gets her ice cream and we walk hand in hand back to the house where I resume my glass of sangria. I may not be the most perfect mother in the world, but she's gonna have ice cream from the ice cream man, dammit. Even if I have to chase him down.
(originally published September 2005)