"Mommy! Let's go on an adventure!" Timothy yells excitedly.
"What kind of an adventure?" I ask, my eyes widened as I match my enthusiasm to theirs.
"It will be an adventure through the dark forest. There might be bad guys or wolves, Mommy. Are you worried? Don't be. We will protect you. You can be the princess."
"I've always wanted to be a princess! But please be careful with me in the woods. It's kind of dark and scary. There are snakes and spiders and bugs and who knows what else. But I'm trusting you, my gallant knights."
(Have you ever seen a boy's chest swell with pride at being commissioned to protect his mother?)
I barely have time to change from my nightclothes as they tug me out the door.
We begin at the play-set (our castle), positioned on the edge of the Ozark forest that surrounds three sides of our home.
My knights lead me to the dark depths of the forest, their senses on high alert for anything with evil intentions toward their princess.
We found this cool stuff (lichen? fungus?) on a decaying tree. Timothy said it could be the footsteps of a very small bad guy.
If I were a fairy princess, this would be my bed.
(A preview of the approaching fall.)
Hollow trees must be closely inspected...
After exploring these woods for nearly an hour, our fearless leader finds the path home.
Who needs shining armor? My knights wear Hot Wheels shirts.
When we were less than 100 meters from the house, Matthew screams, "I FOUND THE DIAMONDS, PRINCESS MOMMY!! Come, COME! Follow me!!"
And find them he did. Beautiful, sparkly water-droplet diamonds.
I allowed my princess heart to burst with joy.