All families have traditions, whether it's only around the holidays, or something they do every summer, or even something they do once a month. One of my favorite family traditions is something that's only shared between my dad and I: our weekly root beer float night. Every Wednesday, we pull the ice cream scoop out of the drawer and we spend some quality time together.
Usually my dad gets home from work around 6:00 p.m. and the first question I ask as he walks through the door is, "Dad, is it going to be root beer float night tonight?" And my dad's usual answer is something to the effect of, "Is that a dumb question? You know that's my favorite night of the week." Dinner is served, pajamas are eventually put on, and then it's time for our weekly tradition to begin.
We do all of the usual things to create a root beer float, including put the root beer in the freezer for about 30 minutes to get it good and cold, but not frozen. My dad gets a big cup and I get a little cup for our floats. I grab the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and my dad scoops it out into the cups. Root beer is poured over and it's perfect every time.
This time with my dad is one of the most meaningful times of my week, and I'm sure he would say the same. Most of the time we are just hanging out watching TV while enjoying our root beer floats, and that time is special because it's only shared between him and me. We rarely discuss work or other life events during this time because it's just a time to relax together. It's a time to connect because of a shared interest in a show like Survivor or The Mandalorian, and we often pause our TV to discuss some weird gameplay strategy or fan theory we have about the shows we watch.
What started out a few years ago as a special treat every once in a while to spend meaningful and quality time with my dad has ended up being one of the most beneficial boosts to our relationship. During this set-apart time every week we allow our guards to come down. I laugh at bad dad jokes, and my dad laughs at how weird I can be sometimes while we scoop ice cream. We both are able to see that this moment together every week is what life is really all about — spending time with the people you love, even if that time is over a root beer float.