Today we took Abby out for gymnastics. When you are not yet two years old, gymnastics is really just a lot of prancing around on various contraptions and bouncy things, but Abby still seems to get a kick out of the whole thing. There are other kids (some of them closer to three, which is basically a grown-up to her), there is a balance beam, and there is a huge multicoloured parachute that is likely older than I am.
Abby has fun, but she is the only kid there who absolutely, positively cannot jump. Not even on a trampoline. She is a remedial hopper. It’s funny, but I do feel a little bit of shame about it.
We now have a bit of a ritual after gymnastics, where we walk downtown for a coffee and a baked good at a local café. The owner greets us warmly as we enter, then points to the cashier and says, “I used to carry her around like that when she was little. Now look at her.” The cashier, his daughter, frowns at this.
As we eat our date square and croissant, we see a familiar gray van drive by. It is filled with teenagers that had just been at the Lion’s Club where gymnastics is held every Saturday. When they were there, they had been running around the building with a sheet of paper, anxiously looking for something. They eventually found it out on a bronze plaque at the front of the original building (the armoury for a now decommissioned unit of the Canadian Armed Forces).
“Scavenger hunt,” I tell Erin as the van pulls away. “Has to be.”
Later, as we are walking back to the car, the van pulls up to the stop sign in front of us. I gesture for the passenger to roll down the window, and I ask him what they are doing.
“It’s a rally for our church,” he says, and the sliding door opens on the side of the van. An excited bunch of kids pour out onto the sidewalk.
“Hey,” one of them says, “we need a picture of a baby! That’s one of our goals! Can we take a picture of yours?”
Abby loves having her picture taken. She has no problem being held by one of the teenage boys for the shot, and she waves to the van full of kids as it pulls away.