It’s dark and smells of lavender. Off-brand. I hold on to a broom handle to steady myself.
I notice a hammer, out of place, longing for his home. Pity. I will have to end the Tall One for his incompetence.
First, I must make it through this. I bite down my anger. Letting it fuel me for this endeavor.
I am being stalked. Slowly. Without logic or skill; reckless and a bit giddy.
His laugh sounds insane.
I can hear his footsteps. I draw out my breathing. Which is easy to do, because of the lavender.
Shit. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t fall asleep. DON’T. FALL. ASLEEP.
He doesn’t like when I sleep.
Quiet. Too quiet.
He’s passed me up. Even with the crack in the door. Which is normally, a dead giveaway. And also, a rookie mistake.
But, I don’t have much time.
I open the door. I run. I aim. I (kind of) slide…
I’m under the table. I’m not alone. I look at my co-conspirator with pleading eyes: stay down, stay quiet, don’t cry.
She doesn’t listen. She never does. Her battle cry gives away our location.
I hear his footsteps. Faster, this time.
I leave the girl behind. She’ll only slow me down.
I’m too late. He’s here. We lock eyes. He smiles.
“Mammmmma. I found you!”
I let him catch me.
Evie claps from under the table.
I’d almost forgotten how to play. The simplicity and joyfulness to be found in it. The excitement of a new game.
And, how freaking cheap it is. #momhack
How easily a laundry room, can become a place of daring and adventure. The perfect hiding spot. Not just a corner to remove stains.
I want to play more. I need to. For them. For me.
Because it would be a shame if they never found out how truly fantastic I am at Connect Four. Or Red Rover. How I f’n dominate at Tether Ball.
And not only that.
I want to pretend with them. I want to see the moment the magic happens in their wide eyes. The believing.
Because, I remember.
I was the girl with the big imagination. The one that saw wolves everywhere and invented ways to tame them. (Singing with an accent, two dandelions, and if in a real pinch, Cheetos scattered around a tree. All proven wolf deterrents.)
The one that knew how to find the forgotten castles (cardboard boxes), the speedways (Granny’s old stairs), and the best place to hide a dragon (behind the curtains, leave snacks).
It’s why I do what I do: write.
Play, left open and wild, encouraged my desire to be a writer. Storytelling is my favorite game. I can’t wait to learn theirs.
I hope they require a jump rope. I’m also really good at that. Is there nothing this SAHM can’t do!?
Dishes. But, I digress.
And now, I get to share the world with my children. The real one. The pretend ones. The ones we read about. The ones we invent. Wherever play takes us.
It’s probably the most important thing I can do with them.
As a parent, my list of worries only grows. Just like that to-do list. And Pinterest aspirations.
Today, we played. And right now, I’m writing. I don’t feel guilty about either. I feel fulfilled.
And a bit pissed, I haven’t forgotten about the misplaced hammer. Husband.