Of blanket forts and stuffies
Every child’s spring should jump in puddles, play in the wind, involve something with baseball, and watch for birds and flowers to return.
I enjoy each of those things, but one holds a special place in my heart. Baseball! A few years back, we wanted to attend opening day festivities for the Minnesota Twins when they were still playing in the Metrodome. Sadly, my husband was travelling, and it was too overwhelming to make the six hour round trip during the middle of the week with, at the time, three small children. I had long, sad faces. The kind of faces where suddenly you realize your children could be eyelash models.
During the day I hatched a plan that I thought would be the best alternative given the circumstances. I sent everyone out to play when we arrived home from school, under the guise that they needed to enjoy the beautiful day. I reassured them I would call them in when supper was ready. While they were outside playing, I stripped beds and dug out every white sheet and chair that we owned. When called in for supper, they arrived to find our living room transformed into the Metrodome West, replete with hot dogs and popcorn. We spent the most magical evening watching the game, and enjoying the fact that at our Metrodome, you could lay on the floor.
I was reminded of that magical time when last Friday evening, I watched my youngest start hauling one blanket at a time up the stairs while I was busy organizing in the basement. My husband, eyebrows raised, asked, “What are you doing with all these blankets and when are you going to pick all that up?” Her swift response mentioned that she was having a meeting with her stuffies.
As a true connoisseur of blanket forts, I knew exactly what the twinkle in her eye meant. Being the youngest and the only one home that evening, she was creating her own fun. There was a party (which actually had some serious conversation) going on between one little curly-headed girl and a whole bunch of stuffed animals, snuggled safely in the confines of their fleecy abode.
Eventually, my freckled-face sweetie emerged with the results of the meeting. The item on the agenda was who among them would be able to attend the school field trip to the Teddy Bear Clinic. Enter the music and words from the Charlie Brown special where Snoopy wants to visit the little girl in the hospital. Only one stuffie allowed! Would it be Joe, the teddy bear who saw a sweet little girl through nights of terrors after her brother was killed, but who has a penchant for mischief? Would it be Bacon, the pig, who loved a little girl at grief camp and who has a secret life as a superpig? How about Reed-y bear made from her brother’s clothes? Or Pork Chop, another pig who came home with us after a swim meet and likes to lounge by bedroom windows? The only catch for tomorrow’s field trip is the stuffie might get a shot and possibly a cast. After a lengthy discussion, a decision had been made.
Curled up in my arms, she confided only Reed-A-Cheetah, who teaches others about loving in the face of tragedy, was brave enough to go on the adventure. Right there with those tiny arms wrapped in mine, messes didn’t matter, because I knew that imaginations were alive and well. Mine was the only house on the block with a VIP board room, and more importantly, one stuffy brave enough to protect little girls lives here.