The morning was cool and crisp. Peace engulfed our home. The children were still asleep, but I knew that was only temporary. Pa and I sipped our morning drinks luxuriously. Finally, I coaxed myself to get off the couch and start cooking in preparation for the day.
In the space of a few moments, life changed drastically. Cars full of kids and grandkids converged in our driveway like pirates trying to invade another ship. It was Christmas. Our company had arrived. Noise resonated like beating drums. Laughter and chaos entwined while the children ran amuck. I was in the kitchen preparing the feast for this hungry horde of people and loving every second of it. Well, correct that to *most* of it. Sounds of breaking glass or wars breaking out between the children are not my favorite experiences.
I took turns refereeing, cooking, laughing and panicking. Life was wonderful. That was the day I met this guy. It seems like such a blur, looking back.
The kids all gathered in circles on the living room floor. Their tangled limbs were wrapped so tightly, no one could tell whose foot belonged to whom. Each dirty little face showed eagerness to open their gifts. My two little boys squirmed the most. Excitement shone on their face brighter than the lights on the tree. They spied their gifts that their Aunt Teresa and Uncle Jared had bought them, which were the biggest gifts there. They waited, none too patiently for their turn and thought it would never get there. Finally, the time came. It was their turn to open them. They ripped the colorful paper and threw it on the floor. Both boys shouted their delight as the four feet tall, Spider man and a Ninja turtle were revealed.
After everyone’s gifts were opened and all the trash was bagged, the children began to
play with their bounty. Bronson, who was five, fell in love with those huge stuffed heroes and in the weeks to come, sat them on the couch beside him when he watched television and he pushed a chair up to the table for them to join him when he ate. I watched him play with them and heard his voice change as he enacted different characters in the land of make believe.
He dragged those two stuffed heroes around until the legs were limp and the arms were nearly detached. Then, one night I put Bronson to bed while I took my shower. I hoped he would be asleep when I laid down, but he wasn’t. He was talking in that pretend voice.
“Bronson, who are you talking to, you are supposed to be asleep? Is Greyson in here with you?”
“No, nemaw. I’m just talking to this guy.”
What the heck? Chill bumps ran down my spine while I questioned him with what I hoped was a calm voice.
“What guy are you talking about, baby? Where is he?”
“Oh, he is right here under my covers.”
I didn’t have a weapon but I jerked that cover back to see who the heck was under there. I nearly slung Bronson off the bed in the process.
Spidey man was in a crumpled heap on my pillow and stared blankly at the ceiling. Relief washed over me as I thought how ridiculous I had acted and had thought Bronson was in danger.
I smiled at Bronson and his antics. I turned the light off and climbed into bed.
Bronson chattered until he was nearly hoarse, informing me of everything this guy had said and the games he had played. I shook my head in mirth thinking of the hero doll being called, “this guy.’
Finally, I told Bronson to take that guy to the living room. I kicked Spidey out of my bed. I was worn out and Bronson could not, or would not hush.
Early the next morning, I awoke tired and cranky. I could not wait for dark to get here so I could go to bed that night and rest. This time, it was Bronson’s turn to sleep with papa and Greyson was supposed to sleep with me. You cannot imagine my glee when Greyson fell asleep on the couch. When I started to bed, I threatened all who might wake the little angel, and then I stumbled tiredly to bed.
In the dimly lit room, the bed looked lumpy and bulky. There on Bronson’s pillow, was “that guy,” Spidey, staring blankly at the ceiling. “UG!” I said, but turned the light off and climbed into bed anyway. Sleep eluded me. That dang spidey was creepy. I threw my cover back, grabbed him by the throat and threw him off the bed into the floor on the other side. Whew! I was glad that was done. I jerked the cover back up and a leg flew across me. I was spooked! My heart nearly exploded in my chest. Sweat beaded up on my lip as my hand struck out in self-defense. I grabbed the foot and slung it, trying to catapult the intruder into the wall. It took three tries to get him thrown on the floor. I sat up to see what was going on while the moon beams lit the darkened room. I laughed out loud when I realized that this time, it was the ninja turtle. Bronson had put them both in my bed. I know he was only watching out for his toys and putting them to bed, but I came up with some ground rules. “This guy,” was never, sleeping with me again!