The weekend is over. Back to reality.
Except, reality can hold off long enough for one more quick story, right? As usual, you’ll find out what the challenge was at the end of the post!
Beth tells me she hates chocolate ice cream. It was only yesterday that she ordered a chocolate cone at Dairy Queen and ate the whole thing in under five minutes. And now she hates chocolate ice cream.
Beth is at a strange age. One day her favorite color is pink. The next it is yellow. She changes her mind more often than she changes the ensembles on her Barbie dolls. I have always been the proud mother who flaunts all the little details she knows about her child. I talk about the way Beth eats her peas one at a time with the same interest as when I reflect on my favorite moment of a past vacation. But that has changed. I am no longer sure which of her traits are permanent and which are only temporary.
I purchase half a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a bottle of strawberry syrup. All I can do as we drive home is hope that Beth will still like vanilla ice cream by the time I scoop it into a bowl for her after dinner.
My mother calls in the evening and asks what Beth wants for her sixth birthday. I list off a dozen things and immediately take them all back. I cannot remember the last time I saw Beth playing with any of the toys I thought were her favorites. I tell my mother I will get back to her.
Beth wants seconds of the vanilla ice cream for dessert. I gratefully add two more scoops to her bowl. I think back to the day I learned I was pregnant. My mind did not equate having a baby with individual moments like this. I thought first of seeing her first steps. Attending school plays. Throwing a graduation barbecue. I have now come to realize that raising a child is something that happens a day at a time. Buying chocolate ice cream. Swapping for vanilla ice cream. Painting pink fingernails. Stripping the polish from her nails and painting them yellow.
Beth rinses out her dish and tells me she would like a miniature trampoline for her birthday. She is sure to change her mind sometime in the next two weeks. But what I care about is what my daughter wants in this snapshot in time. I call my mother and ask her to buy a mini trampoline. Then I send Beth off to change into her pajamas as she carries on about how she liked the chocolate ice cream better after all.
The challenge was: This story contains no punctuation other than the period at the end of each sentence. I never thought I’d miss commas and apostrophes so much! Then again, I feel like the narrative sounded less “casual” without them. Interesting how that works…