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Eli Enjoys His First Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone At Abe's Daily Scoop

Tarek Enjoys His First Ice Cream Cone at Abe's Daily Scoop

Zeke Enjoys His Soft Serve Ice Cream at Abe's Daily Scoop.

Cassie Brings A Friend To Abe's Daily S.

Lil Abe at a recent Car Show.

You're No Fun Without Ice Cream

It was a beautiful sunny Florida winter day and my husband and I had taken the kids downtown for ice cream: Vanilla for my youngest, strawberry for my oldest, and chocolate for my husband. None for me thank you. I’m being good.

Good but no fun.

We all sat outside in the warm sun, and they ate their ice cream. I closed my eyes and tried to absorb the sunlight. Then I snuck a peek at them enjoying their ice cream. I thought, who would want to hang out with me?I won’t bring myself to eat some ice cream? I realized what a grump I had been all weekend. I was pouting over some obscure disappointment that I couldn’t readily recall. (It may have had something to do with the dissatisfaction that comes from getting exactly what I wanted.)

I tried to hold onto the idea that I was not having ice cream because I was being good: trying to believe that I wasn’t a big lump of moodiness being dragged along as an obligation. No. I was being responsible; I was avoiding too much sugar.

Somehow I could tell that the sweetness in the ice cream was what I lacked in myself. I had no sugar, no honey, no agave nectar toward life that weekend. My sugar-free self was as cranky as an eggplant.

By taking the high road, was I missing the journey with everyone else? Was I deluding myself that it was the high road anyway? I’m just sitting alone here with my principles.

This year a friend of mine wrote that her New Year’s resolution was to have more fun. I was flabbergasted. I lowered my librarian glasses and looked down at her. Fun? Are we allowed to do that? I am pretty sure that we — the royal We — do not like fun.

I thought that I was so smart by having no New Year’s resolutions because they just lead to disappointment, but my friend took it to a whole other level. I was preventing disappointment. She was creating joy. What a concept!

I thought I was supposed to be headed toward a healthier, wealthier, rigid, and more scheduled life. I feel like I have a panel of experts (Angry Dr. Oz?) in my head judging what gets done every day. Is the laundry done? Are the floors mopped? Do I have at least three types of organic vegetables rotting in the fridge? The panel does not put joy as a high priority. It made the studious side of me uncomfortable that someone can come along and want to have fun.

Do I have to start forcing myself to have more fun too? Oh drudgery. Should I add Bozo the Clown to the panel of experts? (Or was it Pogo the Clown?) Do I need to add fun to the list of things I am not accomplishing?

But who wants to hang out with the lady who does not eat ice cream?

I know, I know. I can’t force myself to have fun. But fun seems like pressure. MORE FUN. Is this fun? I’m the first one to admit that I can ruin a fun time by trying to make it fun: WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE FUN HERE, SO HURRY UP AND ENJOY YOURSELF!

I don’t think fun is for me. I put back on my librarian glasses and pull on my blue wig. I bobble my head around a bit. Maybe if I call it silly then I can wrap my head around it. I can have more silly. I can have more laughs. I can fire the panel of experts. I can eat ice cream.

If you like Pen Name Jane, please check us out on Facebook. And if you would like to view the fun my friend has created watch this!

About this column: Pen Name Jane is a weekly shared column by two mothers who aren't afraid to tell it like it is.