“What about you, Zay?” I asked toddler Isaiah.
I studied my young men. Their eyes were hopeful. “Okay, but just two sheets. And grab some clothespins from the garage.”
A slur of gratitude preceded the bang of the porch door.
I watched my boys from the window for a few minutes. They’d hustled to their wooden play set. But I was curious and wanted a better peek. So I took up residence on the a-frame swing that sits under our maple.
The boys planned to drape the sheets around the open-slat boards that comprise the top tier of their play structure. They wanted to enclose the square to create a private place. A secret place. They’d secured a rope and bucket for hoisting pirate treasure or animal crackers or juice boxes.
But they were enticed by adventure.
They couldn’t get the fort built.
“Hold this sheet while I clip,” Samuel said.
Gabe held the sheet for two seconds. “I’m taking the binoculars,” he said. “Someone needs to watch for enemies.” He whooshed down the yellow slide and began a combat-crawl through the grass.
“I’ll hold it,” said Isaiah. He grasped the edges with little fists.
But he held the sheet for only a minute when Samuel decided that they’d better gather wood for smoke signals. “Let’s go, Isaiah,” he said. “We’ll pick up sticks.”
After Gabe scoured the lawn for enemy boot prints, he returned to pull the flapping billows of sheet through the wooden slats. But he gave up and decided to swing.
At the end of the afternoon, the boys had some pretty good adventures, but the sheet lay in a twist in the grass and the house hadn’t been built. It was okay. They are boys and they’re full of fun and energy and imagination.
But a thought started rolling in my mind and by the time I’d pulled my sweater tight and walked from the backyard to the side porch, I had some strong convictions.