I recall some years ago I went to visit my brother and his two youngest children, his son and his daughter, it was actually his daughters first birthday days earlier so I went to give her a belated birthday present.
When I got there his son wasn’t there, he was out shopping with his mother. After about an hour my eight-year-old nephew came home from shopping with his mum. My brother went to help bring the shopping from the car into the kitchen whilst I kept my eye on the baby. I heard my nephew asking for change to buy an ice-cream as the ice-cream van was there, but by the time he got the change the ice-cream van had gone.
‘Aaaww sorry nephew’ I said. He replied ‘Oh don’t worry Aunty it will be back again, it will go around and come back to that spot’. He pointed to where it was before on his right. If you say so I thought. He jumped up on the wall outside his house and sat there in anticipation of the ice-cream van’s arrival. His parents and the baby (who was still asleep) had gone back inside the house and after a while I also decided to go back inside as it was too chilly for me to stand outside.
After about five minutes his mum went outside and said to him ‘Look son I think you better come back in because I don’t think the ice-cream van is coming back.’ He replied by telling her that he would continue to wait because he knows the ice-cream van is coming. When she walked back in the house we gave each other the knowing look as if to say ‘poor thing he doesn’t realise that his wait is in vain.’
After about another five minutes I remembered that my nephew was still sitting out on the wall and so I looked through the window and saw him swinging his legs looking to his right with his money in his hand. Suddenly, I just felt compelled to tell him ‘Babes it is a bit chilly and you have been waiting a while now and I don’t think the ice-cream van is coming, so stop this waiting business and come back inside.’ Can you imagine how irritated I got when he rather looked back at me and smiled sweetly and said ‘It’s okay Aunty the ice-cream van IS coming.’ HELLO I am like trying to do you a favour I wanted to shout. I couldn’t believe the quiet confidence of this boy, I actually really admired him at that point even though I knew that his confidence was in vain. I went back inside the house and whilst I was in the passageway was met with the smile of his mother and the curious stare of my brother.
‘Don’t worry Sam he likes it sitting out there.’ My brother, with that statement, was trying to passify my anxiety and apprehension. He could see I was irritated and I could see by the look in his eye that he couldn’t understand why. You see bro, I was thinking, this is not about someone wanting to sit out
there and get fresh air you didn’t see the look of determination in his eye, this is about a boy who is waiting for the arrival of the ice-cream van. You see I know how it feels to really want something and for it to get so close and at the last hurdle you fall and miss out. I have known disappointment and just did not want my nephew to experience what I knew was inevitable, a no-show from the ice-cream van. I walked back into the living room and decided to resign myself to the fact that my nephew was going to have to learn the hard way. At this point my niece decided to wake up and what a joy it was to see her smiling face. After playing with her for a bit, she started to get ratty, a sure sign that she was hungry, so I did what any self-respecting Aunty would do, I handed her back to her mum to be fed. After she got her food, my niece was in absolute fits of hysterics, she was just happy to be fed. Her mother and I were talking about all sorts of things, particularly the weather and how deceiving it was, what with the appearance of the sun but with the chill of the night.
All of a sudden I heard my brother shout ‘It’s here’. ‘What is here?’ I retorted. ‘The ice-cream van is here’ my brother exclaimed. Do you know at that point I had actually forgotten about my nephew and his ice-cream quest? Suddenly I heard the familiar sound of the ice-cream van. I had to see it for myself so I ran out and lo and behold, there it was. What was interesting was, although it was supposed to come from the right it was positioned to the left across the road so my nephew had to walk across to get it. It was such a funny sight, seeing his mother his father (my brother) his aunty (myself) standing outside smiling, laughing, praising, cheering full of joy. If anyone had seen any of our adult faces they would have thought we had won the lottery or something, not knowing that the real reason for the smiles was that we were three adults with a baby admiring a little boy who was adamant, determined and had demonstrated what it was to have unwavering faith.
Child-like faith is the best. it is simple it doesn’t work out all the in-betweens it just focuses on the end result. The message is you clear, do not waver and hold to what you believe because regardless of the weather or how things appear, YOUR ICE-CREAM VAN IS COMING.