(Lala shaking the hand of a “Dr. Seuss tree” on her way home from preschool)
Lala’s snuck another bowl of cereal, and I tell her it’s time to be done snacking — the smells of garlicky pizza from school now mingling with layers of cinnamon and milk on her breath.
“I have to do something,” she says, running up the stairs. Minutes later, from across the hall, I see the mess-making in full force.
Blankets are laid flat across every empty space of bedroom floor, stuffed animals snuggled together on the edges. Then she calls that it’s time for FunLand to open.
“If you wanna come, then come here now. If you wanna come, then come here now,” and it’s her song of beckoning.
I tell her I’m almost done getting ready, that we need to go to school to pick up her sisters and that I will be there in just a minute. And then another minute.
And I almost miss my chance.
“FunLand is closing!” she says, pulling the bedroom door shut.
“No, no,” I say. “I really want to visit.”
“Is it Saturday?” she asks stern faced.
“No, it’s Thursday.”
“OK, good. I’m not open Saturdays.”
It’s a close call, and she continues her song: “If you wanna come, then come here now. If you wanna come, then come here now.”
And I know better than to let the moment pass me by, and so I step into the room, and her face lights, and you can see the joy of this place she’s created, that she wants to share with her mama.
I understand this — the wanting to share delight and beauty, to step into a land free of sharp edges, where all the faces smile back, and I hop across the blankets like lily pads, and I sing the theme song of this place and the moment right here with my girl.
“If you wanna come, then come here now. If you wanna come, then come here now.”
“Are you ready for the Happy Sprinkles?” she asks.
“Definitely,” I say.
“Then stand still.”
Lala picks up her stuffed hippo, stuffed bear, pink kitty, mini lion and throws them at my belly, the side of my head, and we are both laughing, and it is our song.