It was Wednesday morning when I set out a bowl of cherries for us to have alongside the hard-boiled egg Abigail had requested for breakfast. I don’t think you can look at a bowl of cherries and not think about life being one and I couldn’t help but be in agreement that morning. I was off for a mid-day pedicure with a girlfriend and the following day I was celebrating my 31st birthday.
That bowl of fruit did make life seem extra pleasant with its cheery cherriness staring up at me. The next two days seemed determined to prove themselves in the name of cherries everywhere. Life was deliciously good.
A couple days later we went to the aquarium to check out the new exhibit. All winter long we’d listened to construction behind the boarded up space and wondered what it would be like when it was finally ready. The new exhibit, The Sea and Me, was designed with kids in mind and had a play and discover feel. It was totally awesome and Abigail agreed. We spent the most time in the part of the exhibit that had a model fishing boat where you could use a pole to catch something and then deliver it to be sold at the fish market.
Time rolled by and we seriously had to go; dinnertime was right around the corner. I gave Abigail several warnings that we were going to have to leave, but reassured her we would come back another time. She didn’t make eye contact confident that if she ignored me it wouldn’t be true and we could stay. So I tried cleaning up the space hoping she would get the hint. As fast as I put the fish on “ice” she was whipping them onto the counter to be weighed. I knew things were about to end in a very bad way.
Hi. I’m Abigail. I do what I want.
“Abigail, it’s time to go. We need to eat dinner. Mommy has her exercise class tonight. Let’s come back this weekend and show Daddy this fun fish market.” Breathe, breathe. This isn’t going to be pretty.
I tried to take her hand, she shrugged it off. “I’m going to have to pick you up if you won’t walk out by yourself.” Ignored.
So I swooped in and picked her up. Immediately she began screaming and writhing, slippery as a fish. What is it about tantruming toddlers that make you feel like the most uncoordinated person alive?
Several times she managed to wriggle loose, each time sprinting back to the “FISH! FISH!”
Finally, we made it to the lobby door and once again she sprang from my arms and the whole wrestling match started again. Usually getting a seabird pamphlet at the entrance will appease her — not that day. She took that thing and flung it, hysterical. Oh dear. We just needed to get out of there and fast.
Scooping her up once again we headed to the car, but not before she tried running back again. The car seemed light years away with Abigail fighting me every step.
Things didn’t improve when we got to the car. All of a sudden the seabird pamphlet we left behind was the key to her life’s happiness.
“SEABIRD CARD, SEABIRD CARD!” she wailed standing rigidly on the floor of the van. “Abigail, we didn’t get a seabird card because you threw it on the floor.” And repeat.
She screamed the whole way home and into the house. It was so much screaming that Ryan bounded down the stairs and asked, “What happened?”
“She loved the new exhibit at the aquarium.”
(Abigail did calm down eventually with the help of our gourmet PB&J dinner.)
Yes, sometimes life is a bowl of cherries. And sometimes it’s the pits.
How are things today? Just peachy.
Maybe I should be worried, peaches have even bigger pits. Instead I’m choosing to see each pit as what it really is — opportunity for growth.