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An Unexpected Ending to the “Perfect” Day and how we met Harry-the-camouflaged-friend

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It was Thursday of Spring Break. At the beginning of the week, I declared a TV ban during daylight hours and encouraged the kids to be creative with their time. Most of my kids’ friends were out of town for Spring Break, so they were forced to play with each other at home. We went on a jog together in the morning and the kids did an awesome job on a few chores in the house without complaining. They jumped happily on the trampoline together, put puzzles together, played card games together, helped me make dinner and even made a game out of pulling weeds out of the garden. I’m pretty sure there were doves with olive branches in their beaks, circling the children as they played so peacefully together.

I left my oldest daughter in charge while I drove to pick up my 9-year-old son from soccer. On the way home, we saw a random herd of 30 huge elk on the side of the highway. We took a quick detour to snap pictures of them for proof that this was the best day ever. Upon returning from home, I found my daughter had made homemade cookie dough so we could bake fresh cookies for our company who would arrive in the next couple hours. It really was the perfect day.

The only thing that would make this day more perfect was a shower and fresh clothes before our company came. I hopped in the shower and left the kids to hang out while dinner finished baking in the oven. Freshly showered, we sat down for a “perfect” meal. Over the dinner table, my oldest daughter says, “So you guys know about the hole [my 4-year-old son] dug in the carpet, right?”

Whaaaaaaa?

I left the table and ran up the stairs. Sure enough. Quarter-size hole in the carpet.

Pretty miffed, I stormed back downstairs and started questioning the culprit. “I didn’t do it, Mom! Ben did it!”

“Ben? “Ben (his neighbor friend) wasn’t here today, son! What did you use to dig that hole in the carpet?” I pressed.

“A pocket knife” says my oldest, very nonchalantly.

“Where did you find a pocket knife?”

“Harry gave it to me! He climbed up the shelves in the laundry room and gave it to me.”

“Harry?” I questioned

“Ya, Mom, Harry. He’s camouflaged so you can’t see him.” he replied very matter-of-factly, shrugging his shoulders.

I left the conversation at that. I’ve never had a child with an imaginary friend before, but his continued description of this friend with red hair and hazel eyes who climbs trees and eats fruit snacks was making me realize he was very real to my son, so I let the carpet incident go. –Until we started dinner clean up.– While my 4-year-old stood at the sink rinsing his plate, I couldn’t help but notice he had a patch of hair the same size as the hole in the carpet missing from the side of his head.

“SON! Did this Harry cut your hair, too?” I fumed.

He grabbed the side of his head as if he didn’t know there was a butchered patch there. “Ah, HARRY!” He replied, shaking his head. “You cut my hair while I was sleeping last night!”

I’m beginning to think this camouflaged friend is actually a little devil on my son’s shoulder, whispering naughty ideas into my son’s ear. I don’t like this Harry guy.

Sealing off the night as one of the most epoch unexpected endings to what could have been a perfect day, I’m pretty sure the Rumba sucked up my wedding ring. In my hurry to clean up for our company, I quickly dumped the filter in the trash before tying it up for the garbage collector to take in the morning.

To this day, I still have not found the carpet-digging pocket knife, the clump of missing blonde hair, or my wedding ring. But Harry-the-camouflaged-devil-child friend continues to make appearances, eating all the fruit snacks in the pantry while he plays in the sandbox with my son.

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