Title: “Fruit roll-ups”
“I don’t want to go in, I don’t want to go in…” the chorus of dissent was growing in the back seat. Pulling the car up near the front door of the walk-in clinic, I looked at my wife. This was one of those moments when we both understood what was happening, but that still didn’t make it any easier. Appropriate decorum for this moment would have been that we all escort my wife into the waiting room of the clinic. In doing so, we would all be conveying our sympathy and caring support for a member of our family who was currently suffering from a mysterious sore throat, congestion, and general misery. Instead, it was a barrage of complaints and requests about not wanting to leave the car nor go in with Mama.
But we understood…they are five and seven. And we were suspicious as to the fullness of their health, anyway. I peeked over the snow-dusted, tree-topped horizon and could see the sun was preparing to set. “I could take them to the store?” I offered. “We could use a few things for dinner tonight.”
“That’s fine,” my wife responded, “I shouldn’t be long.” This had not been the plan, but we went with it. She hopped out, I drove off.
Once in the supermarket, I resolved to make the most of this adjustment– buy some healthy snacks and any medicine my wife might request via text, and then head back to the clinic to pick her up. Positioning the baby in the shopping cart, I immediately I noticed my other two girls wandering toward another aisle…away from the produce. “Girls, let’s stay together,” I reminded them.
“But Papa, we want to show you something!”
“After we get the fruits and vegetables, okay?” I negotiated.
It turned out what they wanted to “show me” was something they had learned about at school- fruit roll-ups. “Please, please!” they begged. For the second time in just fifteen minutes, I found myself choosing another battle. At the clinic it had been, “Do I force them to go inside? ” Here- do I tell them, “No, those are probably filled with high-fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that are not good for you!” Or do I cave? Again?
Driving home that night through the cold New England air, my wife asked, “Did you get them organic kind, at least?” I shook my head. I had caved. Again.