I’ve just stepped out of the shower, and I’m standing in the warmth of the steam-filled bathroom wrapped in a towel, mentally running through the day’s to-do-list. I’m shaken from my thoughtful reverie by the enthusiastic pounding of little fists on the other side of the door. “Come in,” I say, satisfied that I have at least managed to make it through my shower in peace. In march my three children, artwork in hand. I raise an eyebrow, waiting to see what they have in store for me. My oldest wastes no time, instructing, “You have to judge. Whose picture do you like best?” I groan. Why must they do this to me? They have each drawn an ice-cream cone, and are now standing before me in a straight line, proudly displaying their artistic creations, and awaiting my judgment.
“They all look so good,” I say. “I don’t think I can choose.” My daughter protests, “It can’t be a tie. You have to pick your favorite.” Of course I do. I notice that my son has drawn something next to his ice-cream cone. “Is that cake?” I ask, thinking that cake and ice cream is most definitely a winning combination. “Yes!” he says proudly. “But the cake’s not part of the contest. You can only judge the ice cream,” says my daughter, effectively ruining my strategy. I stand there staring at the three ice-cream cones, each beautifully decorated and special in its own right. I don’t want to be the judge. One is not better than the other. I love them all the same – my children and their ice-cream cones.
But the kids are relentless. “Come on, Mom,” they push. “Pick one!” And then it hits me. Looking at my daughter’s purple ice-cream cone, I ask, “What flavor is your ice cream?” “Raspberry,” she says. I look to my son. “Mine’s chocolate,” he says. My youngest daughter, just two-and-a-half says, “I’m vanilla.” I smile. “Okay, I’ve made my decision,” I say. “I’m going to have to go with the chocolate.” And before anyone can protest, I take the chocolate drawing from my son and, complete with sound effects, pretend to eat the whole thing. This makes everyone laugh, and there we are, all of us standing in the bathroom making Cookie Monster noises as we gobble down fake ice cream. And I think to myself that maybe I like being the judge after all.