Let Ice Cream Work Its Magic

By Jerilyn Swalve-Wasson

July is National Ice Cream month. Can you think of a better dessert for Arkansas in July then ice cream?! Ice cream has always been extra special to me and not just because I could eat it by the gallons.

Growing up, my dad and I would have a bowl of ice cream every night before bed. Ok, not the healthiest for your body, but very healthy for the mind and soul as we bonded over each little bowl of goodness. As I got a little older, (you know..those dreaded teenage years) I started to distance myself from my parents as most teens do. My dad would offer to take me for ice cream. He knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t say no. Somehow that ice cream always got me to open up and talk about some really deep stuff! Not just…

DAD: How was your day at school Jerilyn?

ME: Fine. (walk off to watch TV)

Those with teenagers know exactly what I am talking about. I would discuss my fears, anxieties, school, relationships, insecurities. I don’t know if that was part of his plan all along, but ice cream was like therapy.

In college, my roommate and I both experienced death of loved ones or anniversaries of the death of loved ones. We always knew just what to do to cheer the other one up. You got it…..Ice Cream! And not just any ice cream, but Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream! Hence, we fully understood the meaning of Freshman 15.

Fast forward to the last 4 years after my daughter was born. She was born with a heart defect and genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. She spent her first 9 months in the hospital and in and out ever since. There were several times we thought it was the end of her journey. Funeral homes were sought out and Palliative Care brought in. I have never told anyone this, but I would take time by myself to go to Scoop Dog for the best frozen custard around! I would go there when we had a particular hard day in the hospital or maybe even a really good day to celebrate. The owner always greeted me with a smiling face. He was so kind to me that one day I didn’t have cash (he only takes cash...I know old fashion, but I like it) so he just gave it to me. I couldn’t believe he did that! Later I was able to pay him back triple when I was able to buy a military dad and his son their ice cream.

So as you can see, ice cream is not just ice cream to me. It is love, listening, helping, grieving, reflecting, bonding, cherishing, and lots of sugar! 🙂

I know raising children can be hard. It is hard to compete now-a-days with the computers, games, social media. Etc. However, maybe just try going for ice cream. No phones allowed. Just let the ice cream work it’s magic. Listen more than talking. You might be surprised about the return on your investment.


Jerilyn Swalve-Wasson is Public Relations & Event Coordinator at Arkansas Families First, LLC.