Friday, March 03, 2006

Nice Cold Milk

Have you ever thought back to some rather arbitrary moment in your childhood and wondered what all the fuss was about?

Yesterday, for whatever reason, this scene played in my mind from my childhood. We were on a family vacation, most likely in Niagara Falls, eating at some rather nice restaurant. I know this for two reasons. First, I remember the lights were rather dim...and for whatever reason, nice restaurants require that you can't actually see your food when you eat. Second, we only ever went out to eat at nice restaurants when we were on vacation.

Anyhow, I remember being frustrated, because every time we would eat, I would order a glass of milk, and invariably the milk would be warm. Now, I'm a big milk drinker, but you've gotta give it to me cold! So, I thought I would take preventative measures, the clever chap I was, and so when I placed my order in this fine establishment, I told the waiter, "I want come nice cold milk!"

Now, I remember nothing else about this family dining event until I went to take a sip of the milk. To my horror, shock, and dismay (and any other synonym you can think up), the milk was full of ice! And not those big chunks of ice that you find in most places. This was "fancy" ice, shredded into thousands of tiny pieces. Oh, the milk was nice and cold, all right. But the ice watered down the milk, and I couldn't take a drink without tiny ice cubes filling my mouth.

So, what did I do? I burst into tears.

I'm not sure my age. Maybe seven or eight? But this must have been one traumatic moment in my life. I mean, it was only a glass of milk! And when the waiter came over, distraught at my sudden catharsis, I told him, "I wanted nice cold milk, not ice cold milk!"

And that is where my memory fails. I don't know what happened after that. And I don't know why this memory even came to me at all yesterday. But I got to wondering what it was all about.

Then I thought about my own kids. You know, I used to be a very patient man. Extraordinarily patient, in fact. Too patient at times. Yet, children seem to have a way to whittle away at that patience rather quickly. And there are times when I find myself irritated at the sudden burst of tears that can come to a seven- or six-year-old over something that seems entirely silly.

Yet, to them, it isn't silly. To them, in their limited world, what seems insignificant to the adult is of utmost importance. And then I wonder how many times have to shot down their spirits over something silly to me, but important to them?

For whatever reason, that nice cold milk was important to me. I guess I need to be more mindful of those times my children wanted nice cold milk, as well...but got ice cold milk instead.

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