One recent weekend morning, our day started with a rare in-room visit from our two sons. Usually, they’ll just clamor from the hallway that they’re ready for breakfast, but occasionally they drop in for family snuggle time first, climbing into our big bed to give us a prolonged hug, a peck on the cheek, and/or a good morning grin.
That’s about as good as it gets for the parents of small children – just chilling out for one blissful moment as time seems to stop moving outside our little world and we enjoy the unconditional love of our two favorite people. Then one of them has to open his mouth and completely drench the moment with whatever dreadful words spill out.
On this particular morning, they were actually saying nice things – neither one was demanding anything from us or accusing the other of some horrible crime, like sitting too close or blocking his view of the TV. They didn’t even ask to turn the TV on. Instead, they found a couple of Hot Wheels somewhere in the vicinity, then climbed back into our bed and began to play nicely together, pretending to drive on the various imagined geological features of our comforter.
As they played, I lapsed into reflecting on the good things in life. I put my hands under my head while lying there on my back, and put one foot on the opposite knee, something I do when I’m reflecting. To adequately hold a foot in place in that position, it’s necessary to bend the knee, keeping one foot flat on the bed. Picture Huck Finn lying in the grass and staring at the clouds, and you’ll probably see the pose I was striking.
Regardless, it meant one of my legs was propped up above the rest of me, which inspired the boys to divert their Hot Wheels for a little off-roading on Daddy. As they did so, one of them was narrating the trip. First they drove up my foot, which I’m told was lying at the base of a steep mountain. Once they got past the foothill and hit the angle of my shin, my son said, “This mountain is tall; I hope we can get to the top!”
When they rounded the summit, I had to suppress the urge to giggle as the wheels tickled my knee. Then came the near disaster, as gravity did its job. “Oh no! We’re heading down the mountain too fast! We might wreck!”
But they narrowly avoided a spin-out on my hipbone, pausing to regain control of the cars before heading across my stomach. That’s when it happened. The cars had almost reached my navel when the narration took on a decidedly unfriendly tone: “Uh-oh! Looks like we’re stuck in quicksand!”
Quicksand. Some guys my age still have abs that resemble a nice, flat, six-lane superhighway. Apparently, mine resemble quicksand.
The dictionary defines it as “a deep bed of loose, smoothly rounded sand grains, saturated with water and forming a soft, shifting mass that yields easily to pressure and tends to engulf objects resting on its surface.”
So, my stomach is a deep bed of loose grains? A soft, shifting mass that yields easily?
Whatever the case, thinking about my personal topography now gives me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. And all toy vehicles have been banned from my room.