The Ice Cream 'Comb' Story

She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life
threatening brain surgery, ready to take on the world again. I
was happy just to have her back. My little "Mr. Clean" (shaven
head and hoop earrings) and me driving along to our local mall.
Hanging out with dad day.

I recall her words as if it were yesterday.

"Daddy, can I get a treat?"

As she was understandably spoiled (if there is such a thing), I
replied "ok honey, but just ONE".

Her eyes beamed like the Fourth of July in anticipation of that
something only she knew at the time.

We drove around to the new end of the mall on the normal seek-
and-destroy mission of capturing a parking place. After all, it
was Saturday. We landed a fair distance from our destination, and
began walking hand-in-hand towards the entrance, her pace gaining
momentum with each tiny step. A few feet from the doors she broke
loose and ran hands-first into the thick wall of glass, trying
with everything she had to swing the big doors open. No luck.
With a little assistance, she 'did it' and tried the very same
thing at the second set of doors.

It was then that I asked her what she wanted for her treat.
Without hesitation, she matter-of-factly said "an ice-cream comb
from the ice-cream store". Ok, the goal was set and we were in
the mall!

But hold on! What was this? At the end of what was just an
ordinary looking lane of retail chain outlets she spied something
new- this huge fountain, water shooting who knows how high into
the air. The new goal line!

She ran, and I walked (don't ya just hate it when parents let
their kids run wild in public?), and we arrived at the spectacle
at about the same time. The turbulent noise was almost deafening.

"Daddy, can I make a wish, can I make a wish?" she screamed as
she jumped with the kind of pure joy we've all long since
forgotten.

"Sure honey, but that will be YOUR TREAT you know" I explained
(gotta be firm with these kind of things).

She agreed.

I fumbled around in my pocket and pulled out what I think was a
dime (big spender) and placed it in her outstretched hand. She
cupped it tightly, closed her eyes and grimaced, formulating her
wish. I stared at that little scrunched-up face and said my own
kind of prayer of thanks, feeling so blessed to still have this
ball of energy in my life. And then like a shooting star, the
coin was flung into the foaming water and with it, her wish.

We happily continued our stroll into the familiar section of the
mall. An eerie silence ensued, which I was admittedly
uncomfortable with. I couldn't resist breaking it.

"Aren't you gonna tell daddy what you wished for?"

She retorted "I wished I could get an ice-cream comb".

I just about lost it right then and there. Couldn't imagine what
the shoppers thought of this lunatic laughing uncontrollably in
the middle of a crowded mall. And needless to say, she got her
wish, and two treats.

Little did I know then that my beautiful little girl would soon
embark on a long road of seizures, surgeries, special schools,
medications and end up partially paralyzed on her right side. She
never learned to ride a bike.

Today, she is almost seventeen. She cannot use her right hand and
walks with a noticeable limp. But she has overcome what life
seemed to so cruelly inflict on her. She was teased a lot and
always struggled in school, both socially and academically. But
each year she showed improvement. She is planning a career in
early childhood education. With one year still remaining in high
school, her and I, one night not too long ago mapped out all the
courses she would need to take in community college. It was her
idea. She volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the
children's floor. She baby-sits a neighbors children five days a
week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four
hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself,
with her own babysitting money, into two courses she felt she
would need for college.

You see, to her, failure was never an option.

It would almost be redundant for me to explain why I wanted to
share this story with you. She IS my daughter and I carry all
those fatherly biases with me wherever I go. But these aside, she
is a very exceptional person and one that I admire and have
learned a lot from.

It is my sincerest hope that her story will have even a momentary
positive impact on you as a human being, a parent, a spouse or
even, an entrepreneur.

I'd like to leave you with a closing thought. As human beings, we
deserve all the treats, and the multitude of good things that
life can offer us. We all have wishes and dreams, AND the power
to make them reality. Just simple truths of the universe.

We can wish for, and get, that ice-cream comb.