Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Natural Father

Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg
For the most part, I find the commercials for Kay Jewelers a little sappy.  But about five years ago they had one where a couple, maybe in their late 30s or early 40s, are riding in their car on a snowy evening.  They are dressed up so you are thinking that they had just celebrated a special occasion.  She has fallen asleep and he drops this beautiful diamond necklace into her slightly opened hand.  She awakes and it's a magical moment for them.  Corny!  I know!  But music can make up for all sorts of flaws.  I learned just last week that Alfred Hitchcock was ready to scrap "Psycho" entirely until he saw it with the soundtrack.  And we all know the classic that that show became!  Landon Pigg's hauntingly sweet song MADE this commercial.  I - and a whole bunch of other people - went scrambling to the internet with the same burning question - "Who is this guy singing and what is this song???"  I adore this song.  It captures that powerful emotion of falling in love - even when you're falling in love - again - with the same guy.

I thought I knew my husband rather well when we were first married.  And, to a large extent, I did.  I knew he was a man who set and achieved goals.  I knew he had a great sense of humor and made me laugh.  I knew he made me feel safe and cared for - that although we were the proverbial "poor students," I never worried about not being able to make things do.  I knew he would be a good father when the time came because I had watched him interact with children of all ages - infants through teens - and he was a natural.  Nothing, however, prepared me for the emotions I would feel in the wee hours of the morning on November 7, 1980.

We had been married a little over two years when our first child was born.  Thirty-six hours of labor culminated in an emergency Caeserian section just before midnight on November 6.  Of course, I was exhausted.  So was my husband.  Although the delivery was scary for us both, all ended well and we had a beautiful and healthy baby boy who weighed in just over seven pounds.  As I needed all sorts of post-op attention, my husband was able to spend time with our son.  

About an hour or so later, I was wheeled up to my room and situated in the bed next to the window.  The hospital where I delivered was shaped in a "U."  On the maternity floor, the base of that "U" was the nursery and the rooms went up forming the sides of that "U."  After making sure I was tucked in and all set, I was left alone for the first time after giving birth.  

I thought I would drift right off to sleep but I was oddly keyed up.  I had all sorts of energy and emotions running through my body.  I was a mother!  I had a son!  I just gave birth!  As I lay there trying to deal with all of these monumental occurrences that had just taken place, my head fell to the right on my pillow and I noticed that I had a perfect view of the nursery.  As if on cue, I watched my husband walk into the nursery and go to our son and pick him up, raining soft, loving kisses all over his sweet little head.  The custom of the hospital was for the father's to give their baby its very first bath.  My husband carefully, but confidently, unwrapped our son from his swaddling blanket and proceeded to bathe him.  

Cue the Landon Pigg song ~

Be.  Still.  My.  Heart.

All the love I had had in my heart for my husband up to that point, multiplied by a million!  Indeed, my heart felt as if it would burst.  The tears ran down my face as I watched him wash our little boy, stopping frequently to still his protests with more little kisses and, although I couldn't hear, I knew he was uttering the soothing sounds I would come to know very well as each child was welcomed to our family in the same way, with the same gentle caresses and loving kisses of their father.

I knew my husband would be a wonderful father - I just wasn't prepared for the emotions that came with the realization of that knowledge.  Love unfettered - love eternal.  

And love that will upstage any gift I could possibly give him to show my appreciation for all he does.  But I guess that homemade Chocolate Banana Ice Cream will be part of my attempts at it this year.  If he orders a shake, it's usually chocolate with bananas in it.  I tweaked a recipe I found in "Ice Cream Galore" by Caroline Barty and came out with a very happy result!  Vanilla and coffee are both great chocolate flavor enhancers.  So is cinnamon, which is what I chose for this recipe.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
Printable Recipe Card
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. milk (I used skim, it's all I keep on hand!)
7 oz. of milk chocolate, chopped  (I used mostly a nice chocolate bar and just a few chocolate chips)
1 - 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 banana, sliced

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and chopped chocolate over medium heat, stirring to melt the chocolate pieces.  When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and whisk in the condensed milk and cinnamon, mixing until it is smooth and well combined.  Pour mixture into a bowl and chill until completely cooled.

Prepare your ice cream machine as per instructions.  I have one in which the bowl is kept frozen in the freezer.

Pour your cooled chocolate mixture into the vessel of your ice cream machine.  Add the sliced bananas and start your machine.  Churn until soft set.  It took my machine about 45 minutes.  Scoop the ice cream into a container with a tight-fitting lid and freeze until firm - about 4 - 5 hours.

Serving suggestion:  Place a layer of sliced bananas in the basin of a bowl and place a scoop or two of the ice cream on top.  Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and another slice of banana on top!  Smooth and creamy and flavorful!

The perfect bite!

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