The house is quiet. There is the slight background noise of a tv show playing softly. Just for the noise mind you. We need more noise in this one-child household. I’m on my screen catching up on email and Maddie and Brian are playing the matching game where he is trying really hard to win and failing miserably.
Suddenly I notice that I no longer hear the victory laughs and taunting of a five-year old. I look up to see her blond head and his dark head close together conspiring. And I know it’s on. Without saying a word, we all jump into action at exactly the same moment. We’ve had lots of practice with this routine.
“Come on Daddy! Let’s beat mommy!”
“Oh no you don’t!”
They almost always beat me up the stairs and fling themselves onto the bed giggling and laughing hysterically. She’s half his length and his feet hang off the end of the bed. Facedown they go and it becomes my mission to unseat one or both of them. A raspberry kiss here, a tickle there. Uncontrollable giggles and a snort or two fill the air and I try my best to keep my serious face. I’m on a mission after all.
Sometimes I beat them in the race up the stairs and fling myself on the bed giggling and laughing hysterically. I have to spread both arms out and both legs out like I’m a cat trying not to fall into the toilet. This is the unfairness of my life. Maddie and Daddy always against Mommy. Raspberry kisses times two. Tickles times a hundred- they have quick hands those two. I never survive very long. Two against one. Even if one is spending most of her time cheering on her daddy.
Somehow we all end up snuggled on the bed anyhow and her little arms wrap around both of our necks and we are reminded how blessed we are to have this little tickling raspberrying troublemaker. No more two against one. We settle in and simmer in the moment for a minute. Our eyes meet over that little head and love is even more cemented. Every single night.
Most bedrooms are sanctuaries for the people who call them home. They love their bed, soft and squishy or hard and firm. They love the sun that shines through the windows or the darkness that envelopes courtesy of sun hating blinds. I much enjoy my bedroom like those people do. except where most people enjoy it for a solid eight hours, I get a measly five or six tops.
Here goes the cat on her from A to Z instead of A to B journey to her spot next to my head. Squash on my ear. Squish on my nose. On a good night passes right on by and settles in with the vibrating purr that helps us both snooze. Most nights she settles instead for a squish squash melody on my face. The ultimate sign of feline love and devotion the cat loving liars tell me. She finally sighs a kitty sigh and flops down. Sweet slumber returns.
But here we go again. This time the sun is barely peeking through the blinds when I feel the first poke. This intrusion is not of the four-legged furry variety but the two-legged wanting milk now variety.
Time to get up. The cat? Oh she slides over to where my head was just laying and curls up in the impression left behind.
I suspect it was her plan all along.
It’s always a sight to behold: the colors, the noise, the smells. Bright, loud, and delicious. Maddie is so excited she bounces across the street. She doesn’t even mind the throngs of people jostling us to and fro or the pebbles that stubbornly get stuck in her flip-flops. We immerse ourselves in the carnie way for a few hours and many dollars. We people watch, eat cotton candy, play rigged games, and finally walk home a little less bouncy weighed down by a plethora of prizes hard-won by an empty walleted daddy.
The sounds drift across the way all evening. The cheers, the screams, the music. Until it fades in the distance.
This morning we drive by and Maddie exclaims, “It disappeared!” Her voice is filled with amazement and longing for what is lost. We can’t believe our eyes. The wide expanse of pebbles is strewn with debris and discarded mementos: a popped panda, a collection of unused tickets, a half eaten cotton candy. All the hustle and bustle is gone. Just like that. Vanished.
We stop and listen. But as hard as we try, we can’t hear the sounds, see the colors, or smell the deliciousness.
Until next year, they sit in our minds as loud, bright, yummy memories.
I woke up one recent morning drained. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. I felt like I had gone through the proverbial wringer. A hangover of epic proportions. I lost friends, felt the wrenching twisting sense of loss. My literary soul was ripped to shreds and it was seeping into my mortal soul and ruining my day. I feel as though I should apologize to the people unfortunate enough to have had contact with me that fateful summer day. I was not the best of my selves.
Many who know me know that I have what you may call more than a passing fancy with the world of muggles, witches, and wizards. My loved ones have lost countless hours of me tirelessly devouring word after word. No world has ever grabbed me like that world. So much so that I have never let my eyes lay upon the cinematic versions created. I could never reconcile the fantastical realm laid before me through the words of Rowling and the sketches of GrandPre , providing just the needed kickstart to my own imagination, with the images on the silver screen.
So when I saw a channel advertising a Potterhead weekend I cast nary a glance their way. Then, scrolling through the channels during a few rare hours to myself I catch a snippet on-screen of the bespectacled one and a trusty house elf that tugged on my literary heartstrings memories from all those years ago.
I was hooked. I proceeded to devour the images on-screen through a marathon of Potterdom. I was lost in the world that claimed me so many years ago. Enough years had passed since I last read the words that the scenes before me were like meeting up with old friends. I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t take a break. I was all in.
Brian knew from my rapt attention and tear streaked face that he’d lost me for a while. With a sigh he gathered up the peanut and made themselves scarce.
I came back, but much like after reading the books I need some time to really come back. I’m still marveling at the magical world put before me in the most masterful of ways. It’s like rolling through memories and feeling every nuance all over again. So while my mortal self is present, my head and my literary heart are miles away at Hogwarts. I hope you understand. I hope you’ve found yourself buried in the words of another and needing to slowly drift back to the reality. If you haven’t, then I apologize for my seeming lack of interest in what you had to say that day.