|Why a cat with a lime on his head? Because every post needs a picture, and this one got my attention.|
"Jonah, what are you doing?"
"Preparing," he said, as he raced out the back door, and just as quickly, back in again.
"Preparing for what?" I asked.
He paused, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "The battle begins at daylight."
"Oh, well that explains everything," I said. Or, I would have, but he was off again. Preparing.
"Mom, you'd better get ready, too," he told me, on one of his passes through the room.
"Uh-huh," was my attentive reply.
Several more times throughout the day he asked about my state of preparedness for The Battle. I was ready, I assured him. I even made a few declarations about my talent for military strategy and experience in battle. Then I forgot all about it.
Until daylight. Are you ready? The sun is coming up. Get dressed. Shower? Coffee? No time!
I managed to put him off for a few hours; a shower and coffee being the backbone of any good military action. Noon is still daylight, I told him. Finally, he hounded me out onto the field of battle. Also known as the backyard.
He wasn't kidding about being ready. He had several card board boxes stacked as a barricade. His weapons included three toy swords, a bow and arrow, spears made from tree branches, and wadded up paper which turned into balls of fire with one spark of imagination. He made a stone fortress, thirty feet high, to which to retreat. Okay, it was brick pavers from the flower bed, stacked about to his ankle, but we agreed that he would be safe there. He even conscripted an army; his brother Sam, who pledged his fealty for the price of a single banana and his choice of weapon. (He didn't want to get stuck with the sword held together by duct tape.) They were prepared to defend the stretch of grass next to the garage with their lives.
While their base, as they called it, was the lawn, mine was the patio. I walked out and knew immediately that I owed these boys a battle. I picked up a plastic sword off the pavement and planned my attack. What else was I going to do? I had no defenses, no provisions, and no where to hide.
I charged, with a primal yell, sword held high. Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. But, with less kilt, and more apron. I swashed. I buckled. I deflected a flying ball of fire, off the broad side of my sword, and over the fence.
Then Cate, to whom we had not been paying much attention, ran out, demanding to fight.
"No!" Jonah yelled.
"Jonah, don't be like that. Give her one of your swords."
"Just give her this little floppy one, and she can fight on my side."
"But, Mom. She's too aggressive."
"Jonah, she's three. Give the baby a sword," I growled, and he did.
Cate took the small, limp sword, and without a second's hesitation, charged through the cardboard barricade. Before they could respond, she began hitting them, furiously and hard, right on their hands, until they dropped their weapons and recoiled, in real pain. With her enemy stunned, she penetrated deep behind their lines. Toward the back of their base were two ice chests, which I hadn't eve noticed until then. She grabbed the larger of the two by the handle and ran, fast, dragging it behind her, the full length of the yard. She pulled it up on to the patio, clambered up, and danced upon it, victorious. With hands and sword raised over her head, she shouted, "I stoh yoh thwe-zhuh!"*
Of course! The chests were treasure.
And, yes little girl. You have our attention.
*"I stole your treasure," for anyone who does not speak Cate.