Recently I found myself engaged in another maddening conversation with my four-year old daughter. We were discussing the aquarium we were going to visit the next day. She wrinkled her nose and pronounced that she wouldn’t go.
“Why?” I asked, more than a little impatient.
“What if there are sharks? What if there are eels?”
I assured her that we would keep her safe.
“No,” she said, firmly. “I am not going to the aquarium.”
“Yes,” I said, “you are,” thinking of the tickets we’d already purchased and out-of-town friends we’d meet there.
She cried and flung herself onto the couch. “But the sharks! But the eels!”
I had no pity. My heart was a steel trap of already-made plans.
My daughter has a history of fixating on small worries in her life—every night there was a book or a toy I needed to take away, and so many questions about death and existentialism that I’m unprepared for. As she wades deeper into an awareness of life, I just try to get us through as best as I can.
And I really wanted to go to this damn aquarium.