I was doing my usual Saturday morning routine of cleaning everything in sight. With toilet brush in hand, I heard the familiar request.
"Play with us, Mom. You can be the General."
Sigh. "I can't. I am cleaning the bathrooms." Cory and Silas, in the middle of a game of battle, knew it was futile to ask again. Especially on Saturday morning.
As I swished the Comet around the toilet, an idea struck. I stepped out of the upstairs bathroom and peered over the railing, searching for my two little soldiers. "Captain Cory, here is a secret code." I moved my hand along the banister as if it were a sailing ship, then formed a half circle from left to right.
"Are you telling me to do my Saturday chores?" Cory asked.
"No, no, no. I am a soldier disguised as the maid," I retorted. "You said I was the General, remember? The secret signal means, 'We sail at sunrise'."
"Oh, oh, oh," he said. "Come on Private," he said to his little brother. They both disappeared.
Well that was easy, I thought, feeling smug.
As I Windexed the mirrors and wiped down the sink, they reappeared.
"It is sunrise." Guess I would have to sail after all. "Follow me, General, let's go get your your gun," Cory ordered. I followed them into their room where I was promptly issued a Nerf gun. Cory then pulled out a piece of paper on which he had drawn the secret plans. Even though I was the commander, I followed orders.
Mom Dot, seated downstairs on the end of the couch, was the target. Cory counted to three, then the three of us rushed downstairs and hid behind the couches.
"I'm not believing this," she said when she saw me crouched behind the couch, Nerf gun in hand. Sheer shock is often the reaction when someone sees me playing.
We redirected the mission when we saw Bethany heading our way. "Let's ambush Bethany when she comes in from out back," I ordered. The troops loved that idea. Bethany, accustomed to her brothers' ambushes, played along.
The mission took about five minutes. "Thanks for playing, Mom," Cory said. Music to a mother's ears. "You haven't played with me in two years." He could have left out that last part.
Really? Two years?
"Last time was when we played football in New York."
That night when Captain Fun got home, we walked to the park. "Play football with us, Honey," he said.
"No, thanks. I will swing Hope and you all can play." Besides, I thought, I have already met my two year playing quota.
But, being the otter he is, Captain Fun wouldn't take "no" for an answer. It was the Captain and me against Mary and Cory. I don't remember who won, but I completed two passes. And I have to admit, it was fun.
I don't know why it is so hard for me to play, but I know I need to do more of it. I have heard many times that when the kids are grown, they won't remember how clean the house is. Now that three of my kids are grown, I know it really is true.
They will recall, however, whether or not I played with them. And unlike the football game last weekend, they will remember the score.
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