Anytime we are out and about in the cold, running errands, playing, or have just had a long day in general...I, often, ask the kids if they want me to make hot chocolate. Preferably, homemade on the stovetop with a dash of vanilla. They get all excited and get the mugs out and wait, patiently. Ironically, they rarely drink but a few sips (on a good day, maybe half), and eat all of the marshmallows out of it.
It occurred to me that it's not really about the cocoa. It's the feeling they associate with the cocoa. Mom makes it, then, we all sit at the table and drink it and talk and laugh. It's the experience of the hot chocolate. We've done it since Jake was about 2. Going on 7 years. 7 years of warm fuzzies attached to a beverage they don't like as much as Sprite. But, who cares?
All they want, all they need is you. Wherever your head is at, no matter what the bottom line in the checkbook is, whatever you and your spouse may have argued about the night before, they want to feel safe and secure. To know that you're a room away night after night ready to chase the scaries away. That their home is a dependable place, with meal times, and baths, and bed times, and order, even if things in our 'adult' world are on shaky ground. They shouldn't have to deal with any of that. They're kids.
I think for my kids...a cup of hot chocolate symbolizes all of that. So, I'll make gallons of it, even if they don't drink a drop.