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Who Will “Catch” The Fish?

The sparks were flying as their two creative minds merged.

Ibet that if you asked any kid what they’d like for their birthday, the last thing they’d say is a wooden fish. Unless they belonged to our family. Yup, in our family, birthdays are always a big deal, not just because we love to celebrate each other’s special day, but because we are always curious to know where that wooden fish will show up next.

It all started when my daughter was about to turn four. We weren’t really sure what to get her for her birthday. We didn’t know what that one “wow” gift would be – the one that would leave her completely speechless, the gift that would let her know how special she is to us – the one that would make this birthday completely spectacular. So we asked her what she wanted. Instead of giving us a list of specifics like we were so used to getting from our older daughter, she just smiled sweetly and said, “I don’t know.”

So the three of us offered her a few suggestions. And just to be different, my husband said, “What about a wooden fish?” My daughter glared back at him with her nose so crinkled you’d think she’d bitten into a lemon. “Every kid on the planet would love to get a wooden fish,” he continued. “It would be so cool! Think of all the things you could do with it. And just like that an idea was born. You could see the lightswitch go on in the glances that were exchanged between my husband and our oldest daughter. The sparks were flying as their two creative minds merged.

So the big day finally arrived with bright clusters of balloons and twisted streamers. Our birthday girl greeted the guests as they all arrived and the party was running smoothly. Then came “present time.” The stack of gifts quickly became a mountain of paper. But we had saved the best for last. The two “tricksters” were beaming as they watched the little fingers rip through the wrapping. I braced myself. Our little girl reacted exactly the way we expected she would. She took one look at the freshly painted wooden fish, and like a live grenade, the fish went flying across the room as she shouted, “I don’t want a dumb wooden fish!”

We wondered how others would react if they received a wooden fish on their birthday, and there was only one way to find out. When the next family birthday rolled around, we wrapped up the fish again. This time, it was a big hit! And since then, the wooden fish has made an appearance at many family birthdays, bringing with it many laughs. Everyone who has received it has signed and dated the back of it, and some have even changed its appearance by painting a few more details.

So now, it has become a great honour to be the holder of the wooden fish, and every birthday is completely spectacular because you never know when it will show up again. – Jodi Enns writes from

Elm Creek, Manitoba

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