“I’m headed to Holland,” Chris said. “Want to join me?”
How simple he made it sound. Yes! Of course I’d love to join you, I thought. But the laundry, and the schoolwork, and the kids…
For several minutes my practical side warred against the side of me that loves nothing more than to hop in the car and go for a ride on a beautiful spring afternoon, a mini road trip with my family.
“We can stop and get ice cream before we head home,” he added. My man, he sure knows how to up the ante.
“Ice cream?” My girls and I said in unison. “Let’s go!”
We loaded into the van and took off. A couple hours later we found ourselves lapping up delicious hot fudge sundaes and ice cream cones. It was our first trip for ice cream after a long Michigan winter and even though it was only in the forties the sunshine felt so good and the ice cream tasted so creamy it might as well have been a summer afternoon.
I looked over at Tenley with her mouth rimmed in Blue Moon ice cream. Bright turquoise drops dripped down her fingers and onto her pants. I looked at Aletheia with a matching blue circle smeared round her lips and Blue Moon drops stuck to her hair.
The sight of them made me so happy I wanted to cry. This moment, with my family, was so full of delight. But following these thoughts my practical side launched another strike. What a mess, I thought. Why can’t they just like vanilla?
The question made me consider my own approach to life.
Most of my days are pretty vanilla and, believe me, I like it this way. I am not knocking vanilla, the simple, the calm, the routine. I thrive on vanilla days and what Jane Austen calls the “real comfort of staying home.”
But there is also something that must be said for the whimsy of Blue Moon. In terms of ice cream, it’s a mess. It’s terribly impractical. I honestly don’t understand what every child on the planet seems to get from a drippy scoop of bright blue ice cream on top of a crunchy cone.
What I do know is that days like this Wednesday are precious and rare. They are once-in-a-blue-moon treats in a long strand of vanilla days.
Days like these, if we let them, are what fill us up and keep us going. And while they don’t always make since, aren’t always convenient, and are usually not very practical, I’m finding in my own life the importance of fighting for whimsy, for adventure, for wondrous Blue Moon joy.
For this, my children are my teachers. Always ready to play, to dive-in head first, to slurp up the messy with a smile, my girls remind me each day to lighten up, to embrace what God is giving, to seek and chase and live with awestruck, giggling, wonder.
Last summer I was invited to join a group of writer friends at a cottage on Lake Michigan for a weekend of nothing but food, friendship, and writing. For a mom with two young children at home it seemed completely indulgent. But I went anyway and the joy I experienced that weekend bore the very texture of Heaven.
This week I received an invitation to return to the cottage this summer, and while I want to go with all my heart, the addition of a newborn makes the arrangements, the planning, the finding a way to make it work seem very Blue Moon.
The practical thing to do is politely decline and hope for another chance next year, and in the end, this may be what I have to do. This may be what’s best for my family. Chris and I are still trying to decide.
But you can bet I’m going to fight for it, this weekend of whimsy, of adventure, of joy. This couplet of Blue Moon days in the midst of my vanilla life. Because I know I need it. I know it’s good for my heart. I know it’s full of the stuff that keeps me full. The very stuff of Heaven.
I know it’s messy, and drippy, and vanilla would make much more sense…
But one look at my girls with their Blue Moon smiles reminds me, again and again.
In the end, it’s totally worth it.