“We got you!” My captors wave Nerf swords with a flourish. “Walk the plank!”
“May I finish my M&M’S first?”
The six-year-old captain, more merciful than the average pirate, considers my plea. “Okay. Then, jump!”
“Let the mean octopuses get you,” adds the first mate, a ferocious four-year-old.
I munch my final meal, then march to the imaginary plank’s end. Holding my nose, I leap into the green ocean – a flattened air mattress where my husband and I slept the night before.
I flail for my grandkids’ viewing pleasure.
The sympathetic two-year-old plunks down beside me. We play Bumblebee, a tickle song my mother played with her babies.
Bored with the lack of violence, the older pirates wave swords at my husband. “Now, you have to walk the plank.”
“No, I don’t.” Steve grabs a sword a pirate carelessly dropped. “En guarde!”
The delighted first mate fences with Grandpa in an epic match that menaces the world, shakes the heavens, and endangers my daughter’s lamps.
“You’re supposed to fall down dead,” I reprove.
“Unlike some people, I don’t cave to their every command.” As the first mate swipes at his head, Steve’s glasses fly off.
“Being dead is safer.” I stick out my tongue. “Bet I live longer than you.”
Our life expectancies fare better when we play individually with our grandchildren. The youngest and I have fun, no technology or batteries required. With a “Br-r-r-ooooom,” he powers beloved toy trains across the room and the world. My travel toothbrush holder, which he pops 37 times, provides easy entertainment.
Less easy: explaining to a two-year-old why he cannot eat all my toothpaste.
While he naps, the four-year-old enjoys solitude the way only middle children can. He battles Tyrannosaurus rexes and wicked aliens, brandishing a plastic McDonald’s spork. I cheer him on, providing kisses and Scooby-Doo bandages when our hero is attacked by evil sofas that dump him backward.
Baking cookies with my granddaughter inevitably turns into a sibling project. But we grab moments between school and Daisy Scouts. Together, we create little books entitled What I Like with illustrations. I draw a very bad portrait of Jesus. Having inherited Daddy’s artistic talent, she draws a better picture of Him.
Watching her print the accompanying text, I envision her writing the Great American Novel someday.
The middle child’s grown-up imaginative energy will help him battle evil in this world and, perhaps, on others.
Maybe the train fetish of the youngest will transfer to his developing an efficient national mass transit system. Impossible? This is my grandson we’re talking about!
Till then, fortified by love and M&M’S, we play, and Grandma dreams on.
How do your children’s or grandchildren’s games reopen magical lands to you?