Sweet and heavy, but with a smoothness that fills you to the brim — that’s a chocolate milkshake. Or, it could be a way to describe how it feels to raise a family. Believe it or not, there is actually a day set aside to honor one of the above mentioned: National Chocolate Milkshake Day. A day celebrating milkshakes might seem a bit frivolous, but to me, chocolate milkshakes and family are a bit intertwined.

Rewind with a Chocolate Milkshake

My chocolate milkshake memories begin with sunshine in the eyes and a trickle of sweat dripping down my forehead while my small hand was held in a larger, more secure one. I was on a walk down the street for a special treat, led by my mom on a hot summer day. We’d talk about things—silly, childish things—that have long since left my mind, but lingering still is the bond felt on that walk back when my legs were so much shorter. I can remember the way my mom smelled, and the sound of her voice ushering me through traffic.

She willingly listened to all my little thoughts like I was the most important thing in her world, while the chocolate milkshake was probably the most important thing in mine. My, how things change for the better, even chocolate milkshakes.

Fast-Forward with a Chocolate Milkshake

In a strange sort of fast-forward motion, somehow thirty years have blown by and I am finding myself holding the hands of my own children. In honor of National Chocolate Milkshake Day, we set our three sets of feet on the brick-lined streets of downtown Saint Augustine and began to repeat history.

Saint Augustine

Sunshine in the eyes with a trickle of sweat dripping down the forehead, two small hands filled up my larger, more secure ones. The four-year-old made a steady clip-clop sound because of her white slippers—which she insisted on wearing—continually slipping off her feet. Clip-clop, clip-clop, stop. Not even halfway to our chocolate milkshake destination, we stopped at the base of a large fountain. The children carefully contemplated which wish to make with the shiny penny pressed between their chubby, sticky fingers, when I caught the eye of an older woman sitting nearby.

There was a reminiscent look on her face as she smiled at the children. For an instant I felt like a time traveler. Was this what would happen if I fast-forwarded beyond the present day? Would I be sitting at a table quietly with my chocolate milkshake while watching other people’s red-cheeked children? I brushed the thought aside as I bent to take a picture.

Forward Ho to a Chocolate Milkshake

Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, stop. We made it to our destination: Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar. I stared up at the menu board on the wall while the children debated which shake they ought to share—the key lime pie or homemade blueberry compote? Naturally, I was getting chocolate. Do you remember how I said even chocolate milkshakes get better? It’s true. This one came with whipped cream and brownie crumbles.

The children started to squabble, which grew into accusations like “But you always get to pick!” being thrown back and forth, and then I started to chastise them. This was not going according to the chocolate milkshake memory protocol.

Once our shakes had been made and we were sitting outside in a picturesque courtyard, the children started to do adorable things (like drinking a milkshake without screaming at each other) and I was free to debate the issue. Had there been a fair amount of bickering in those milkshake memories of my childhood, and I have simply been wearing my rose-colored memory glasses? Probably. But it is just as likely that someday I will be that lady sitting at the table near the fountain, and if I recall the bickering, I will just smile.

Chocolate Milkshake

The kids waddled back through those brick-lined streets like the milkshake and the heat had turned them into sleepwalkers. Slowly we wandered back to the van, satisfied with our celebration of family, change, and all things chocolate milkshake. I get the feeling we will be revisiting this celebration well before next year’s National Chocolate Milkshake Day.

So where’s the best milkshake in town? I vote for Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar. What’s your vote?