It was a lazy-after-school-afternoon as I sat at the computer glancing out the patio glass at my girls who were playing in the backyard. They were 6 and 7 yrs old, so I was still in somewhat of a protective hovering mode. I had noticed that they were standing still, huddled together, staring at something on the ground. My parent radar went up and I knew something just wasn’t right.
I sat for what seemed like an eternity waiting for them
to move, which would indicate to me that everything was ‘normal’.
I didn’t want to overreact like my wife I
didn’t want to overreact, but I realized
something was up – they didn’t move.
As I stood up making my way to the screen door I question them, “GIRLS WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” No answer. “GIRLS . . .” No answer.
The adrenaline flood gate opened wide and I picked up speed making my way to the back deck, interrogating them the whole time. Coming down the stairs from the deck to the yard I realized that they were answering me, but it was unclear because they would not take their eyes off of whatever captivated them. Growing impatient because I was not getting the information I wanted I continued to interrogate them. At the bottom of the stairs I made out one terrifying word – snake.
Everything inside me wanted to go back up the stairs, but
my girls were out there and I felt obligated.
Not wanting to overreact like my wife Portraying the epitome of bravery
I remained calm, and as I reached them I gently nudged them back from a snake
that was sunning itself on the rocks that border our back lawn. Through my shallow, rapid panting I managed,
“Wow, that’s cool.”
So what was a father to do as he and his two girls faced a three foot snake. Something deep inside of me made its way to my conscience and I knew I had to ‘mess’ with it like any other 7 yr old boy in the presence of girls. At the very least I had to poke it. I could poke it with a stick, but if I really wanted to impress these girls I would have to poke it with my bare hand, and that’s exactly what I intended to do.
As I studied the reptile (got my nerve up) I was struck with the oddity that it simply didn’t move. It looked very much awake, but it didn’t even fidget. I thought maybe that’s the defensive posture of a threaten snake, or maybe it was . . . fake.
“Hey girls, you think it might be one of those rubber snakes?”
“Yeah, it’s rubber daddy.”
“No, it’s not daddy. It’s real. It’s looking at me.”
Well, they weren’t very helpful. I thought to myself that if it were phony I would be very impressed. I was either influenced by the craftsmanship or the adrenaline, but it sure looked real.
Jiggle (the snake)
It jiggled like Jello. It was a fake. “I told you it was fake girls.” The three of us let out nervous little girl laughs. I swung it at them and they screamed. Then I let them touch it and we all ran around screaming fun screams taking turns throwing the rubber reptile at each other. The laughter calmed and we stood in a circle taking turns making hissing sounds and stretching it. Then it hit me. That 7 yr old boy rose to my conscience again and I blurted out, “Hey girls ma’s coming home. Let’s scare her!”
To be continued . . .