Tuesday, July 19, 2011
They say you can never go home. Well obviously that's a metaphor because I did just physically go home. The sentiment, however, was hammered into me many times on our trip.
When I was about eight I got croup. It's unusual to get it at that age and so in my usual style I did it bigger and better than the average child.
The first attack happened in the middle of the night and after the Doctor made an emergency house call (socialized medicine people - it's not just a pipe dream) an ambulance was called.
I remember thinking, not that it was hard to breath but that I wished my friends could see me whisked away in an ambulance with the lights flashing.
(More evidence that drama queens are born and not made.)
At the hospital a very jolly nurse gave me the breathing treatment and soothed me through the whole thing by telling me how brave I was. She told my Dad that I was so brave, I deserved a treat. She suggested a Knickerbocker Glory.
Just the word still brings a smile to my face.
When I told her I had never had one, she gave my Dad strict instructions to take me to a certain ice cream parlour as soon as I was well enough.
He did. A Knickerbocker Glory is an ice cream sundae. I can still picture the tall thick glass filled with fruit, ice cream and chocolate and strawberry sauces. It was heaven.
I had had banana splits but this was my dream dessert.
I had told the eight year old this story many times, usually when she's had croup. Perhaps because she turned eight this year and we were heading 'home' she asked if I would take her for the famous treat when we got to Scotland. I was thrilled.
It's the kind of thing parents live for. Repeating a happy childhood memory with your own child - it's magical.
The first thorn was the fact the original ice cream parlour had closed. Undaunted I found another old fashioned one.
We headed there the day after we landed. We had big grins on our faces as we ordered. We told the waitress an abbreviated version of the story and she seemed tickled for us.
The three year old declined the giant sundae and opted for a single scoop of "pink" (strawberry) with the parlour's trade mark bear wafer. It came first, It was very cute, Bear shaped cookies in ice cream - you can't go wrong.
Then with some fanfare came the long anticipated Knickerbocker Glory. The eight year old was grinning from ear to ear.
We all tucked into to our chosen treats. We took photos. It was a golden moment.
Then I saw the eight year old's face. She was trying desperately not too cry. My girl is not normally reticent with her emotions.
The struggle on her face was completely heartbreaking.
"What's wrong sweetie?"
I could cry as I type, she said:
"I'm ruining your special moment."
"It's OK lovey, what's wrong?"
"I don't, sob, like it, sob."
A memory, thirty something years in the making, shattered.
I laughed with the absurdity of it. How could I not have seen how much expectation I put on this poor kid?
Of course she didn't like it. It's not the kind of thing she likes. She never chooses sauces and I'm not sure she's ever eaten canned fruit.
The problem was quickly solved by a single scoop with a bear wafer.
So, what did I learn? What's important to you probably won't be important to your kids, sure OK I get it, but really what I learned is that when you're eight - a cute bear wafer triumphs every time.