Once upon a time, I was a woman with all of my skeletons tucked neatly away in the back of the closet. Not anymore. Now, my skeletons hang front and center on the fireplace mantel for all the world to see. Thanks to my three year old daughter, Ashli, every day looks like Halloween at our house.
You see, my golden-haired little angel has a love affair with all things spooky: Aliens and vampires, goblins and ghouls, monsters of every description. I may be utterly horrified, but nothing is too scary for Ashli.
And then there’s Jack. Jack started out as a very realistic looking skeleton wind chime that I purchased for (actual!) Halloween. When I threw him in my shopping cart that October afternoon, I envisioned wooden bones clacking in the breeze on an autumn night on my porch. I did not, I repeat, DID NOT, imagine that skeleton becoming my daughter’s constant creepy companion. But (sigh), he did.
Ashli and Jack are inseparable. Naptime, snack time, playtime, bath time . . . it’s Ashli and Jack, Jack and Ashli. In the morning, Ashli and Jack snuggle up in a chair together and watch cartoons. At bedtime, Ashli lovingly tucks Jack into his bed – an oversize shoebox, complete with a blanket and a miniature pillow – and kisses him goodnight. And, according to Ashli, the two of them are getting married someday.
At first, I was thoroughly mortified by the whole thing. Rattling into playgroup, Jack in tow, I imagined snickers and disapproving stares. What must all of the other mothers be thinking? What kind of mother would let her preschool daughter play with such an inappropriate toy? And when my talkative tot would launch into the tale of her upcoming skeletal nuptials . . . well, frankly, I wished I could crawl under something and hide.
Then, I took a deep breath, got a hold of myself, and got over it. So what if we draw a little extra attention when we’re out and about? My daughter is beautiful and imaginative and, most important of all, happy. And, I confess, I wish that I had half of her self-confidence.
Now, when I look at Ashli and Jack, I see my daughter the future doctor. Or, my daughter the future paleontologist. Sometimes, I just see my daughter having a fabulous time and being her own unique little person. That’s definitely worth a few strange looks at the playground or grocery store.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wedding to attend!
Kelli Simpson stays home full-time with a little girl named Ashli and a skeleton named Jack. She contributes to Top Blog Mag and blogs as Mama Zen at The Zen of Motherhood.