Once upon a time, there was a mommy of three boys, Tyler, Michael and Julius. Every day the mommy happily wrote all sorts of stories on her computer, and every night the same thing happened.
“Mommy! Tell us a story!” The three little boys would plead.
The mommy never knew what to do. She would fake a coughing fit or excuse herself to go potty. She distracted (anyone want chocolate?) and demurred. She pleaded exhaustion or a headache. She simply couldn’t tell anyone the truth. She was a terrible storyteller. “Howard!” She would call to her husband. “The boys want a story.” So Howard would trudge into the room with a contrived, heavy sigh, “Another story?”
Tyler, Michael and Julius would nod feverishly, and Howard would pluck a tale from the trees or out of the sky or from a lifetime ago. A man completely incapable of reading a book or communicating a feeling could somehow spin a yarn with a cast of characters, intriguing and funny, getting themselves into all sorts of mischief. He even managed to end with some kind of moral.
Night after night, his stories entranced the boys, their mouths hanging open, glee in their eyes. The mommy listened, equally impressed. How did he do it? She wondered. It made her all the more insecure.
Generally, by the time Howard was finished, all that was required of her was some back tickling and kisses. Easy stuff she loved. But some nights, not often, but some nights, the children would persist in hearing one of her tales. They pitied her and gave her prompts to work with, “Tell us about when you were little?” Tyler would ask. But the mommy had blocked out most of her childhood and could not recall or imagine any of the funny antics that Howard could. “Tell us about a cat, a lizard and a fly?” Julius suggested.
“A cat, lizard and fly…” She pondered a moment. She had it! “There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.” She looked around at their eager faces. “She swallowed the cat to catch the lizard…” Their faces dropped.
“Mom!” They interrupted her, mid brainstorm. “That’s a nursery rhyme,” Michael scolded. “Not a story.”
“I don’t know boys. I have a headache.”
They shook their heads, not accepting it for a minute.
They were enjoying the game and shook their heads again smiling.
“Who wants a drink?”
“Can I read you a story?”
“NO!” They happily shouted.
Wait! What’s that?” The mommy put a hand to her ear. “It’s the phone. Sorry, boys.”
“The phone isn’t ringing!” Tyler said.
“Come on.” Michael demanded. “Just do it!”
“Okay fine.” She finally conceded. “But it’s going to stink.”
“We don’t care.” Tyler encouraged.
“Okay. Here goes…” But nothing would come. “Uh…”
Eye squinting. Deep thinking. Nothing.
“Mom!” They stared at her. Her brain hurt. The pressure was too much.
“Okay, okay.” She began. There once was a mommy of three boys… uh, let’s call them Myler, Jichael and Zulius.”
At that, the boys giggled and the mommy perked a bit. “And this mommy just couldn’t think of a bed time story.”
“Oh no!” The boys said simultaneously.
“Wait. It’s good. So, she pretended to have a headache. The mommy held her head. Ow. Ow. Owwwwwwww.”
They giggled some more.
“And then she pretended to be so tired. YAWN!”
She fell over on the bed. “Zzzzzzzzz!”
“Mommy” Julius said, “Wake up!”
“Oh sorry. Okay, then she decided they needed snacks so she left to go get them apple slices.” She zoomed from the room. “Huffing and puffing, she put the apples on the bed. Then she decided they needed drinks. She ran down to get water.”
Giggles followed her out.
“Huffing and puffing, balancing three cups of water, she tried to be funny. But she was so tired coming back up that she walked right into the wall. The water spilled all over her. She was now wet. Oh man!”
The boys cracked up.
“So of course she had to run back down to get more water. Out the mommy ran, down the stairs and up with three new cups, but when she got back up the floor was still slippery and she fell, water cups flying in the air. She lay on the floor.”
Hysterical laughter filled the room.
Howard walked past, and offered a hand to help her up. “Show off.” He smirked.
She was soaked and may have broken a hip, but the boys were still laughing.
“Okay boys. Time for bed.”
“You didn’t finish!” They protested.
“Oh sorry.” She said as she tucked them in. “Then the mommy had to be taken to the doctor and the boys had to clean up the floor. They got so tired from working, they fell asleep.”
“That was a good story mommy.”
She smiled and kissed their happy, sleepy faces. “Good night, babies. I love you.”