I heard the squeals, screams and shouts before I saw the entourage. But oh, the entourage was worth the wait. Full of flash, dash, sparkles and bravado, it entertained me for a good half an hour.
But the entourage has since been called home for dinner.
What a shame. It was a brief happy interlude in an otherwise ordinary day.
I was fixing dinner, just a bit ago, after a long day of work. Work I’m thankful to have, but the usual routine stuff—nothing extraordinary. I went to the grocery store with my youngest so I could make said dinner, just like usual. And my pre-teen was being—well–a pre-teen. He entered the grocery store in a decent mood and was channeling Ava Gardner by the time we left (“I want to be alone.”).
As I fixed our meal, he decided he just wanted cereal. Then, he accidentally dropped the cereal on the floor and stomped upstairs. After that, he tried to pick a fight with me. Told me he would not do any of his chores, etc. I could literally see the hormones ramping up (his, not mine). And, of course, they came back to normal levels after a bike ride. But, in the moment, as I calmly focused on shredding chicken and watched his emotions play Gnip Gnop with him, I remembered highchair tantrums much more fondly. At least then, he was contained.
So, when I heard happy shouts outside, I peeked out the window only to see a tiny body with a box on its head, chased by another tiny body who looked like he had absconded with Siegfried’s hair (or Roy’s—I never could keep them straight). He was running like a drunken sailor, as the blond wig kept falling down in front of his eyes. The former tiny body was brandishing a sword, leading the charge. And trailing behind, calling out, “Boys, wait! Wait for me!” was a tiny princess in a flowered dress.
The trio raced through my backyard, much to my dog’s chagrin. As the swordplay turned to wrestling and then tag, and the running to and from through the grass continued, I smiled. I remembered this routine well. My own boys had beaten that same path through the yards and over the fence many times as they played with neighbor children. Replace the wig with a Superman cape and the box on the head with scuba flippers, and you take me back about a decade. The names called out and the props used may have changed, but the joy still sounds pretty much the same. And now, with a new crop of tiny neighborhood children, the ritual was beginning again.
In an otherwise ordinary day, the joy inherent in that ritual still has me smiling.
It’s about time the sweet sounds of a wild rumpus drift through my kitchen window again. It’s been far too long.