When life gives you blue ice cream with sprinkles

Everyone gets cranky when it’s almost dinnertime and the food’s not on the table.

So, when I invited our boys to go with me to pick up something for dinner, I knew it might not be the most cheerful ride. But I hadn’t seen them all day, and I was pleased they wanted to tag along.

We were picking up take-out from a restaurant for a fundraiser that would benefit our son’s middle school. That seemed like a treat to me, but the boys would have been just as happy if I’d opened a couple cans of soup.

Off we went, arguing a little about who got to sit in which seat and why we couldn’t just eat what we had at home and whether this was even a restaurant we liked. Would the food even be good?

Soon enough, even with the crankiness, we were there. We climbed out of the car and went into the restaurant to wait for our food.

On our way in, I spotted a colleague I don’t see often. I went to say a quick hello, and then my younger son and I went to the counter to pick up our dinner.

And there it was—the answer to prayers we hadn’t even known to voice, the rarest of rare gifts, a 9-year-old’s dream come true: a container of bright blue cotton-candy-flavored gelato with sprinkles on top.

My son looked at me, and I looked at him.

No words were spoken. All questions were answered in his eyes.

“Could we get one scoop of that ice cream?” I asked the server behind the counter.

“The blue one?” she said. Even she knew.

Our fourth grader went from unhappy to overjoyed in a moment. Minutes later he was all smiles, carrying his ice cream to the door. I hadn’t asked for a spoon with it, so this enterprising ice cream eater took the cardboard top off the container and made it into a little scoop so he could start eating on the ride home.

Soon his lips were blue, and all the complaining was a distant memory.

Ice cream, you see, makes everything better, and gelato takes it to a whole different level. How great is our God that He gives us such small but important gifts to discover in the busyness and the grumpiness of an ordinary day.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.