When Riley was three, she was enthralled with the Bubble Guppies. It wasn’t the worst show out there. In fact, despite its very-kids-cartoon characteristics, I found it very easy to listen to in the background while I went about my normal chores. It also gave us a really good framework to use when talking about a very frequent emotion in our house full of girls: the grumpies.
Riley, bless her heart, has been given the full streak of my stubbornness. So when she goes grumpy, she goes grumpy hard. The commitment to the grump is real and lasts well beyond its appropriate timeframe. No matter where the foul mood started, everything is pulled into it. The way her shoes fit, the kids at school, the taste of her candy. Everything is related to that very first grump. So I used Grumpyfish from the Bubble Guppies as a means to talk to her about it. When the grump became unreasonable, I would get serious, make my very best fish face, and come toward her chanting grumpyfish, grumpyfish. It always got a smile, which led to a pleasant reframing of attitude.
This week, I found myself in full Grumpyfish mode. It began with the age-old “there is too much to do and not enough time to do it.” It combined with the inability to understand and cope with the amount of red tape and hurdles adults throw at each other and culminated in a very real, uninvited change in my and my girls’ life. I gave in to the grumpys. There was no turning back. I was even perturbed by the ten minutes my exercise class went over that week. There was no saving me. Then the very worst event of the week happened. The girls and I came home to find our beloved dog gone. Deep in the throws of the grumpies, I had forgotten to bring her in after our run together during my lunch hour. I called for her on the porch. Nothing. I called the Humane Society. Closed. I called animal control. Voicemail.
With two girls to feed and watch over, I was out of options, except one. I texted Lesley. In the full swing of Story’s choir practice, she was on it. Fifteen minutes later, she was canvasing the neighborhood whether I was able to join her or not. By 8 pm, she had passed out my number to every neighbor in sight and searched, with Story, the nooks and crannies of the neighborhood. They did not prevail on their mission, but, by 9 pm that evening, Savannah did slink home for her nighttime meal.
Typically, no good, very bad, terrible weeks don’t include any tragedies of substance, just a series of unfortunate events. They do, however, serve a purpose. If you let them, they show you what a fool you’ve been and, with no mistake, point to the important things you take for granted every day. I’ve been blessed with a friend who would drop everything, forget her responsibilities, and change all of her plans at the sound of a distressed text. My problems are small. My family is my world, and my best friend is my stable ground.