She was standing at the end of her driveway, four years old and determined. Her Grandma was close behind to make sure that enthusiasm didn't cause those little feet to run into the street. Skylar noticed me immediately and called me over with great urgency.
"Please help me call the ice cream man," she pleaded.
I walked across the lawn and looked at her.
She was beautiful with her wild curly hair and big brown eyes staring at me. She wore a yellow and orange sundress and was heavily adorned in the costume jewelry she had been playing with just before coming out to call the ice cream man.
The bracelets jingled and jangled and since they were too big for her small wrists, she kept her arms at a strange angle. The necklaces she wore almost reached to her knees.
This was the most perfect "ice-cream-man-calling" outfit I could imagine.
Her grandmother explained to me that since it was an overcast day they had been playing dress-up inside the house. From what I could see, this game probably consisted of taking Grandma's jewelry box out and putting on as many bracelets and necklaces as possible. I was surprised that Skylar wasn't wearing a pair of oversized high heels. I know that this is one of her most favorite things to do, especially if she is playing dress-up.
But, as it turns out, Skylar didn't finish playing before she suddenly and loudly announced that she wanted ice cream from the ice cream man. When Grandma tried to explain that they would have to wait until the truck was in the neighborhood, Skylar announced that she would call him.
No amount of explaining could dissuade her from walking outside and standing at the end of the driveway to call the ice cream man. They had been standing there for a few minutes when I joined them. Skylar again asked me to help. So, together we sang out,
"Oh ice cream man, please come here. Skylar wants some ice cream."
Children are so much closer to the essential truth. They haven't accumulated the baggage we've attracted over the years.
We did this several times, sometimes loudly and sometimes softly. But after numerous attempts, there was no ice cream man in sight.
The grey clouds threatened an afternoon shower and we mentioned to Skylar that we could wait for the ice cream man on the porch or in the house. But she shook her head the way only a child can do without getting headache. She stood her ground.
"No, I'm calling the ice cream man and he is coming."
At precisely that moment the familiar white truck turned the corner playing its Pied Piper-esque tune.
Grandma and I both stood with our mouths slightly agape as Skylar calmly flagged the truck down. She knew exactly what ice cream she wanted (conveniently it was in colors that matched her sundress.) She ordered very matter-of-factly and upon being handed her treasure she calmly said to the man in the truck:
"Thank you for coming when I called."
Two seconds later she turned around, walked to me and took my hand. With those big beautiful eyes looking up at me she said:
"And thank you for helping me call him."
We walked to the porch together and sat down on the steps. As I watched Skylar devour her ice cream, I marveled at her belief, her utter and complete belief, that she could call the ice cream man. There was no doubt in her mind that she could accomplish it and she did.
This was her world and she was creating her reality. And there was no ego involved. She didn't turn to gloat over her accomplishment. She didn't say, "Look what I can do."
Instead she expressed her gratitude and went on with life.
How many lessons?
How many lessons have I learned from a four year old? Probably hundreds. But for now I know that the next time I want to call the ice cream man, or anything else for that matter, I will remember what I learned from Skylar:
Believe with the abandon of a child.
- Tell others about your desire.
- Speak about it in a positive manner.
- Do not listen to the advice of others who try to change your mind, even if they are well-intentioned individuals.
- Know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is your world and you are creating your reality.
- Show gratitude where appropriate.
- Eat ice cream so it drips down your arm and leaves pastel colored puddles on the ground. (This one is optional but it looks like a lot of fun.)
I have thought about that Sunday afternoon often and I thank Skylar for the lessons she taught me. As adults we sometimes need a child to remind us of the obvious. Children are so much closer to the essential truth. They haven't accumulated the baggage we've attracted over the years. And they also have not gotten attached to it.
Children haven't heard "no" as often as we have and even if they hear it they don't believe it. They come from a place of innocence and their world is beautiful - fairy tales do happen and life is good.
Now I choose to see the world through the eyes of a child more often. I believe in a world where the ice cream man comes when called as I create my own reality. What an exciting new/old place to be.
Come join Skylar and me at the end of the driveway. We would love to have your company.
And, by the way, what flavor ice cream do you want? I think I hear the ice cream man coming now.