We have a new ritual in our family. It’s called the tent.
It’s an age-old ritual passed down generations — you may come from a family of tent-dwellers, or you certainly know someone who has.
The 2-year-old is the biggest tent fanatic in our family.
“Beddy, beddy!” he exclaims, running his belly-forward run into the bedroom. He limbers up the side of the bed, using the sideboards as a stepping stone and then falls onto the Crate & Barrel comforter with an exasperated sigh.
Once there, sleeping is not an option. No, the bed is not a place of rest for the young-at-heart — it is a wrestling pin. A running track. A trampoline. And, at its best: a tent.
“Tent! Tent!” the little master demands. He has strict rules for the ritual. We get under the covers and must hold the sheets up in a very formulated way. If it’s too high or too low, the two-year-old barks orders to fix it. All hands and feet must be inside the tent — no peeking out.
We giggle. We roll. We play hide and seek. And suddenly, in the magic of make-believe, we are transported to a rose-colored land where the overhead light filters through white sheets. Where our falls and tumbles are padded by puddles of pillows. And where the greatest joy is in the simple act of playing.
The beauty of the tent is bittersweet. It is a place where we only go for a portion of our lives when the little ones around us are small enough and excited enough to see it as more than a pile of sheets.
So for now, we play.