THE ICE CREAM DATE
A little while back my boy Matthew turned five. For his birthday I told him he could have a birthday party or a family day trip to Lego Land in San Diego.
“I want both!”, he replied.
“No”, I said. “You have to pick one or the other.”
“Can Reagan come to Lego Land?”
“But I wanted Reagan to come to my birthday party”, he said sadly. I knew he was going to pick Lego Land.
Reagan is the little girl who lives across the street. He really cares about her and Matthew lights up every time she walks in the room. He’s known her since he was born. They go to the same pre-school. They even have a pinky promise that someday they will get married and move to Hawaii.
When I saw how sad he was at the prospect of not celebrating his birthday with her I got an idea.
“You can go to Lego Land and you can pick a day to ask Reagan to go with you to get some ice cream.”
“Huh?”, he replied.
” I’ll take you and Reagan out to get ice cream.”
His face lit up. “Just me and Reagan?!”
“Coooooooooooooooool!” He ran out of the kitchen and went off to tell everyone else in the house.
The next day at pre-school, Matthew entered the classroom and walked straight up to Reagan.
“Reagan”, he said excitedly. “Will you go with me to get some ice cream?”
She looked at Matthew and then up at me with a confused expression. I explained to her that he couldn’t have a birthday party and told her how sad he was that she wouldn’t be part of it.
She smiled from ear to ear, “REALLY!?”, she asked looking back at Matthew.
Matthew was beaming and his head bobbed up and down yes about a thousand times in a few seconds.
“OH YES!”, she cried out while giving him a big bear hug, “I WILL GO FOR ICE CREAM WITH YOU! I WILL, I WILL, I WILL!”
That night I bumped into Reagan’s dad, Brad, outside his house. He came over and we talked.
“What’s this I hear about Reagan going out for ice cream? That’s all she’s talked about since I picked her up from pre-school today.”
I explained everything and he just smiled and shook his head. His wife had the same reaction. When the day for the ice cream date finally arrived, I picked up Matthew at 12:30 and took him home. Reagan stays at school till 4. That’s when her dad gets off of work.
When Matthew got home he ran straight upstairs. He came down about 15 minutes later dressed in his Sunday clothes and his hair was wet and slicked down. He never got dressed that fast in his life! Matthew looked like a handsome little gentleman.
“Whoa! Slow down sport,” I said. “Reagan is still at school for a while.”
He was upset and very frustrated. The hours passed slowly as he repeatedly went to the window and peered out to see if Reagan’s car had pulled into their driveway. When it finally did he exploded with energy and dogged me until I finally had my shoes and jacket on and was ready to go.
We walked across the street . I let him go to the door. Her mom answered with Reagan at her side. Reagan was wearing a bow in her hair. I talked to her mom for a minute and then we were off.
We were the only ones in the ice cream shop. When I explained to the two female employees behind the counter what was up they both looked at each other and said, “aaaaaaaaawwwwwwwww!”
The two picked out what they wanted, I seated them at a small table, then I picked a corner of the parlor and just watched, along with the ice cream parlor ladies. Matthew and Reagan ate their ice cream and stared into each other’s faces, talking about who knows what, just like any other couple, about whatever couples talk about over an ice cream. They were in their own world. I kept trying to imagine these kids at 16. What would they be like? Then I gave up and just watched them as they were. It was too cute.
It lasted only 20 minutes. They ate all that they could. I had the leftovers boxed up to take home and we left.
When we got to Reagan’s front door Matthew said to her, “I had a wonderful time.”
“Thank-you for the ice cream Matthew”, she replied and hugged him good-bye.
Matthew was quiet for the rest of the evening, in his own universe, probably reliving his date. Shannon, my wife, was eager for the details.
After I told her everything her expression turned to shock.
She yelled at me, “YOU DIDN’T GET PICTURES?!”