It was one of those moments where, as a parent, I wanted to remember every detail. I studied the freckles on his nose, his dark brown eyes. I leaned over to breathe in the smell of his hair. I paid attention to his clothes, his shoes, the pitch of his voice. I made an effort to etch all the details of that exact moment into my brain. I think one of my greatest fears as a parent is that one day many of these amazing little moments will leave me – that I won’t remember the details, that my aging brain will fail me.
I breathed it all in and held my breath, hoping to make it all stick. So that one day I might be able to live in that moment again when Jack is off at college, or starting his first job, or busy raising a family of his own.
I worry about him not having summers like I did as a kid. I was outside from dawn till dusk with the neighborhood kids building forts, hosting lemonade stands, exploring streams, and waging epic battles. With Heather and I both working, he spends all summer at day camp. And while he loves it, I feel like he’s missing out. With the debilitating realization that I have exactly 10 summers left before he goes off to college, I felt like a trip was in order.
He and I don’t often do things just the two of us, so this trip was special. Disney World is somewhere that we visit often, but this trip was different for that exact reason – it was just the two of us. And while it was by necessity that it was just us – Heather couldn’t get the time off from work – I was kind of glad. Not that we wouldn’t miss her, but just that it gave us guys some time to spend together and be silly and act crazy and do “guy stuff.”
I knew all the while that this child beside me wasn’t a baby any longer, but also wasn’t too far from being a teenager. I knew that in just a few years, he’d avoid sitting anywhere near me, much less pressed against me as he was. So I knew I had to soak it in. And I did. And we got off the bus and we played and we laughed and we ate funnel cakes for breakfast and rode one ride 10 times. And I let him make all the decisions. And I forgot about deadlines and how the trip was using all of my leave. And I forgot about daily the struggle to balance life, and job, and and blog. I lived right in that moment. And he did too. And it was amazing.
Sometimes you just need to let go and let things be amazing. And work hard to let it all sink in. And remember all the details. And sometimes you just need to forget that another summer is almost over…
And sometimes you need to make homemade ice pops. I’d call them Popsicles, but that’d be illegal cause the folks at Unilever own that word, so I can’t call them that. So I’ll call them ice pops. But you know what they are. And it helps if those ice pops are sweet tea flavored.
To start, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add 1 family-size tea bag to the water. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes or until it’s strong like you like it. Remove the tea bag and stir in 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue to stir until it has completely dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature then pour into an ice pop mold. This is the one I have and I absolute love it. It’s enough liquid to fill at least 10 3-ounce pops.
Be sure to leave some space in each one so there’s room for them to expand as they freeze. Pop the top on and add a stick if your mold doesn’t already have them and pop them in the freezer. Freeze for about 4 hours or until completely frozen.
With my mold, it helps to run a little room temperature water over them to get the pops loose from the mold. You can always add a few pieces of fresh fruit or berries to the mold before you add the tea if you wish for even more flavor. I love adding blackberries, raspberries, and even sliced peaches. Y’all enjoy!
Sweet Tea Ice Pops
- 4 cups water
- 1 family size tea bag
- 3/4 sugar
- In a medium pot heat the water to a simmer. Turn the heat off and add the tea bag. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the sugar and continue mixing until it has all dissolved. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature and then pour it into your pop mold, being sure to leave a little space in the top of each one to allow for expansion. Freeze for about 4 hours or until the pops are completely frozen.