I recently had the opportunity to visit Max Brenner Restaurant in New York City. Walking into Max Brenner is like walking into a chocolate factory, complete with large vats of churning chocolate. The dessert offerings at Max Brenner include sundaes, milkshakes, fondue, and sweet waffles, many with various forms of chocolate and some without. I tried the Euphoria Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Sundae. Deep chocolate peanut butter ice cream and dulce de leche ice cream, carmelized toffee bananas, chocolate chunks, spiced peanuts, whipped cream and hazelnut pieces, served with warm chocolate peanut butter and warm milk chocolate ganache. It was a lovely experience! The peanut butter and chocolate sauces were served alongside the sundae in two small bowls, which I welcomed as dipping sauces instead of sundae toppings. I very much enjoyed the toffee bananas and chocolate chunks, and although I am a huge peanut butter and chocolate fan, I found myself wishing for more of the dulce de leche ice cream, which broke up the strong chocolate flavors nicely. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert, as well as the presentation. Max Brenner's makes all of its desserts look like an art form; it was as enjoyable to look at as it was to eat.
I visited Max Brenner's with my husband and oldest child, who is now a freshman in college. It was Freshman Parents Weekend, and for me, it was filled with reminiscing on what it means to be a parent and what happens along the journey.
I have a memory from a family vacation when my daughter was eight years old. It was just after dinner and while riding the hotel elevator, I noticed that her outfit was covered in whatever she had had for dessert. Disappointed, I started lecturing her on doing a better job of keeping food off of her clothes.
There was one other person in the elevator with us, and it was a boy who was eleven or twelve years old. He heard what I was saying and said to me, "I can never do that. Look!" And then he proudly pointed to his dessert-stained shirt. I laughed, and realized that I had just received my own lecture, from someone not much older than my daughter.
When I look back on that moment, I think of it as one of those times that I could have done a better job as a parent. Did I really need to be worrying about perfectly clean clothes on vacation? Probably not.
When you look back on eighteen years of parenting, it's easy to catalogue all of those moments, and think about the things you could have done better, or differently. I should have nagged a little less. I should not have worried about grades so much. I should have let some things go, like messy clothes or a messy room, or a host of other things.
There is no perfect blueprint for parenting. There are mistakes along the way, because we're all human. We're given these tiny human beings, without a guide book; we teach them to walk and talk and read and learn and how to live, and we try to do our best every day. And we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out if we're doing it right.
In the end, what we have to hope for, is that our kids know how very much they are loved. It's the love that will rise to the top, and remain.
It was truly euphoric to share the Euphoria Sundae with my all grown up daughter, seeing her within her exciting new life, seeing the fruits of our journey as parent and child. Yes, I wish I had let the messy desserts go. And about a million other things. But I'm ever so thankful for the joy of sharing a dessert at this time and place, for the opportunity to watch her go off into the world, and for the love, which indeed, has risen to the top.
Have a great week!