I love ice cream. Though, it doesn’t always love me back now that I’m an adult. As a kid, getting ice cream as a treat was a huge deal. It still is today. So in that way, ice cream has a timeless quality to it. For me, that timeless quality and the memories that come with it, transcends into so much more than just the ice cream itself. Way beyond summer and icy cold treats, and the freedom that summer brings, the warm weather, that beautiful free feeling on the last day of school before summer break. Ice cream, for me, was an important ingredient in one of my most cherished childhood memories.
One of the best memories I have of being a kid was when we’d get to stay up a little late and do something special. One of those times involved all of us kids (I have a sister and 2 brothers), getting all cleaned up and in our pjs, on a nice balmy summer night, and going outside under our carport, which was lined with colorful patio lights and complete with a picnic table underneath. Mom and Dad treated us to black cows, essentially root beer and vanilla ice cream in a glass. It was such a simple treat and a simple night, but still remains one of my very best childhood memories.
We were so excited to be sitting outside on that warm and breezy summer evening. Maybe because Mom and Dad were sharing one of their childhood treats with us or maybe because we got to stay up late and partake of this special ritual. Just a simple, relaxing, comforting, warm and fuzzy time. I find that as an adult, I crave more of those simpler times.
The coldness of that ice cream mixed with the zip of the root beer. Sitting out underneath this beautiful, starry sky and looking up in wonderment as we sipped our ice cold treats, trying to see what kinds of stars were present that night and being in awe of how big the universe really is. How serene and peaceful everything seemed under that midnight blue sky lit up with the glow of stars farther away than my young mind could ever have fathomed.
The warm, fragrant summer breeze blowing fresh night air on our freshly scrubbed, just-out-of-the-bathtub skin. The relaxed, comforting feeling of special food and family gathered. Knowing that this family time was something truly special. I knew that even as a kid. Maybe most importantly, in my very young mind at the time, was staying up longer than usual. In a kid’s mind, that’s pretty important stuff.
In my now all-grown-up mind, it’s the memories of that special night that linger along with my desire to go back to a time when things were simpler and where I could find comfort simply in the company of my family and a glass filled with a scoop of ice cold ice cream and fizzy root beer.
What is it about the decision to throw a party that seems to put everything into a tailspin? We start wondering what we’re going to serve, how we’re going to decorate, who to invite, how to handle the people we’re going to invite and the most probable personality or otherwise general clashes we might have to face. Then, of course, there’s the house. We will have to do a really good cleaning job. Ughhh!
Now, I have to be honest here and say that my dear husband and I have not thrown a party in quite some time. We’re talking years here. I know, I know. I don’t know how that happened, but the decision to pass on throwing a party for one event slowly turned into it becoming easier and easier to decline further celebratory urges that would inevitably come up from time to time. Well, for me, that is. I don’t think guys have the same need to plan, prepare and get all crazy about throwing a party, impressing friends and family, cocooning and bonding over anything chocolate and bringing people together. I am pretty sure that my husband would rather sit and watch a Clint Eastwood movie marathon solo any day over having to plan for, throw or attend a party.
In the past, we’ve thrown parties that have ranged from birthday celebrations to the yearly Christmas Open House. I’ve even hosted my share of home parties a la Pampered Chef and others as well as giving parties at others homes as the neighborhood Tupperware lady, among other companies. Don’t ask ;-) That’s a whole other story.
One thing I’ve noticed about parties is that we get ourselves all crazy in the preparation and anticipation, and then end up during the party both enjoying ourselves and waiting for it to be over. Once it’s over with, we sigh with big relief, reminisce over how it went (if it went well, we’re faintly excited about hosting one again soon…read…maybe in another couple of months to a year ;-) If it didn’t go well, we rehash all that happened and vow never to host another blasted party ever again!). Then we take a look at the house, the house we so carefully and painstakingly decorated and cleaned and the food that we toiled over, and we pick ourselves up, put the food away, try to straighten up and clean the house all over again!
On a positive note though, parties help us celebrate the milestones as well as the simple everyday pleasures in life. Food, conversation, fun and even the usual high drama that can accompany the party all serve to slow us down for a bit to take notice that time is passing quickly. It’s a reminder that we need to pay attention to and appreciate all of the beauty we’ve been given in our lives, and even at times, the not so beautiful or hard to appreciate events, happenings and people.
My take on things is that life is a celebration and we should celebrate each and every day to the best of our ability. Throwing or attending a party is just a heightened sense of that fact. So next time you’re thinking of throwing a party, try to slow down and enjoy it and don’t get too bogged down with the details that you miss the real celebration. Details make the party, but the moments we’re celebrating are the bigger swatches of fabric in the tapestry that makes up our lives.