Like many good stories, it happened a long time ago…
Just a few weeks ago I was reminded of something I had forgotten about: Monsters. More specifically, monsters under the bed. We’ve all been there. At some point in our lives, we’ve had to contend with those blood-sucking, tendon severing, bone-crunching, limb-devouring, monsters from under our beds, closets, the shadows, or just our imagination. They’re out there, real, and waiting for us. We all know it.
Or, at least we did.
As I was saying earlier, a few weeks ago, while on a long drive with my family, I was reminded of an event from my children’s childhood (I know what I wrote). My oldest son brought up the topic and I ended up asking a few questions about the subject of monster hunting when he was younger. A topic I had—so it seems—had forgotten about. It happens. Oh, well. At any rate, My son and his wife had stopped by the house to pick up some of the treasures from his youth. It was during this scavenger hunt that he uncovered a gadget belt for a series of spy gear tools. The tools I recalled. I also recalled trying to teach my children to learn how to use them while being sneaky. In other words: Training the next generation of superheroes.
We used simple spy gear toys and gadgets obtainable in just about any toy aisle—they were quite popular at the time. I’ve still used them on different occasions long after my children were little—for one thing, or another. Mine are currently boxed up and in my closet. My children’s are… Their responsibility. I often would customize each piece of their gear with stickers or tags of a kind to help them identify who’s was who’s. With four children, it helped.
I think my train of thought on this story has derailed back at the station… This seems to happen more and more when I multitask. Which probably means I should stop some of the other activities.
So, yeah, spy gear & monsters. My son had mentioned that as he had found his belt of gear holsters but no gear (although he knew where they all were). He didn’t keep them on the belt. He kept them in a custom spy case I had made for him. Both his wife, and mine, were impressed at how well he remembered them all and what they did. His wife thought it was cute. My wife thought it was sweet. Upon hearing all of this I was just happy I had done something memorable for my son—in a positive way. Parenting point for me. Yay.
As my son would describe it, he was impressed at what I had done for him and his sibling. When asked why that was, he gave me a very touching reason that we discussed at length. It was a long car ride, after all. My reasons for doing it were simple: I wanted to play with my children. I know I stated ‘reasons’, and ‘play’ is a singular reason, but, it is such an important one—for me—that I felt it required to be all the reasons. (I know what I wrote)
My son liked that, as a dad, I not only spent time with them, but I also helped them face their fears. I helped them overcome, by doing. I showed them how to be brave and not worry, through example. I gave them the tools (figurative and literal) to battle the unknown.
“I did that?! Really? Could you clarify what you mean, please?” I was confused. How could I have done all that with toys?
“When we hunted monsters before bedtime.” Was his clear and simple response.
Then, came more, “Before bedtime, you would help us hunt for monsters under our beds, in the closets, and in the corners of our room.”
Apparently, we used the spy gear and some flashlights—as well as other monster-hunting weapons (nets, etcetera)—to locate, close with, and destroy the monster hordes that threatened the safety and sanctity of my children’s bedrooms. It seemed that in the early years of this monster hunt, I would just direct the children to places where monsters were likely to hide. I had knowledge of such places since I had once been a child, I knew security pretty well (U.S.M.C.), and I just know stuff. In the latter years, I would use a scanner that I had built to help better detect the aforementioned malicious monsters.
The kids liked the scanner. I did too.
My son specifically said that he really appreciated how I helped him and his siblings overcome their fears by forcing them to face the fear—literally. The children were the ones that held the flashlights (everyone knows that late-night shadow monsters shrivel up and die in direct light—especially flashlight light, as it is concentrated), while I lifted sheets and beds, held open doors, or whatever else I needed to do. Apparently, my children also knew that because I was so close by that if anything happened to them I would save them—which is true. No monsters were gonna’ get my kids while I was around.
As the years passed, one by one, each of my children stopped hunting for their monsters—one by one. Luckily, by the time my last one began her hunts, she had a good crew of seasoned monster hunters to assist. One little girl in a nightgown holding a flashlight, backed up by three older siblings all decked out in their monster hunting gear, and their dad close behind is a great spectacle to witness. So my wife has told me.
I know I have mentioned in previous posts how I feel good to know that when my children were younger I did something right by them. I still feel that way. This is one more of those memories, that when I am long gone, I hope my children will recall about me with great fondness. I know that as my son was reminding me about it, I thoroughly enjoyed it—all over again.