During the summer months, I must confess to the liberal use of a parental crutch: popsicles. You can’t really use them and have it make any sense in the winter—ice cream or cookies have to serve as a stand in—but in the summer months you can get kids to do more or less anything if you promise them a popsicle. Take this popsicle and go outside. Eat this popsicle and your boo-boo will stop hurting. No it’s not time to go to the pool yet, have a popsicle.

I have had moments, literally, where I am in the car white-knuckling it back to the house, horrified that I don’t have time to go to the store and get more popsicles when I have just accepted, via cellphone, a playdate with two other girls. They will be coming, imminently, in bathing suits to play with my two girls in our sprinkler. God help me if I don’t have four popsicles. They will expect popsicles. I am not ready. My last popsicle purchase was quite some time ago and I may or may not have four popsicles left. I may only have three, in which case I am going to have to get to the freezer before they do, take the three popsicles out of the box and stash them under a couple pounds of frozen sea bass. Then I’ll just have to shrug and says, “Sorry girls, I’m all out. No popsicles today!” because if the four of them find three popsicles, forget the sprinkler, we’re playing war. Popsicle war.

            This is why I pray.

            Please God, please God. Four popsicles, that’s all I ask. Four lousy popsicles, Not three.

            On this particular instance, God decided I was worthy and sure enough, I found four popsicles in the box. Not three. Not five. Just four. This is how I know God loves me.

            (Of course my husband may love me more because we were completely out of wine and good guy that he is he brought a bottle home for me.)

            I think back on this story on this rainy Saturday because, unusually, I have had a very large, very full box of popsicles in my freezer for quite some time now. This is due to the current New Jersey rainy season. I was not aware that New Jersey had a rainy season, but clearly that’s what this is. On the eve of summer I’m still wearing wool socks and a sweater. The rain on the roof has ceased to sound soothing and feels more like water torture.

            Now, because we were having so much fun in rainy season already, my kids have come down with the flu. So, knowing I have a full box of popsicle goodness in the freezer, I say to my feverish and miserable daughter, “You know what would make you feel better? How about a nice popsicle?”

            To which she replies: “Don’t we have any cookies?”