Playing and being silly with the children is one of the most important things you can do before they grow up or before it becomes “uncool.” Playing games of tag, kick the can, board games, charades, cards, make-believe or even just riding bikes can be a blast. However, one game that stands out the most to me is the game of hide-and-seek. To make it even better, playing hide-and-seek inside on a rainy day is the best. Creativity comes into play and when one person is found, everyone becomes the seeker.
Trying to hide inside the house is challenging because with children that span a multitude of years, the little ones always want to hide with Dad. You know, Dad always has the best hiding places. It’s difficult to keep the little ones quiet when they get the “giggles.” Little do they know that Dad always has a few hiding places that he saves for those really intense games. Many of those spots are utilized only briefly until the game drags on, then the strategic move to a known location occurs so you don’t give up the secret hiding spot.
The hide-and-seek game to determine the “world champion” of all hide-and-seek players was about to go down. We had an all-star group of competitors on this rainy day and the indoor championship was about to begin. Ashton, Brianna, Cierra, and Dawson were all ready to dethrone the all-time champ, Daddy!
The entire house was available to the competitors. Nothing was off limits! Some of the simplest places were the best. Many of rounds were won by simply hiding in the shower or behind a door. However, my hiding places were being discovered and no longer useful in the game. The older kids were on to my tricks and I began losing too many rounds to still declare my dominance. I had to resort to the hiding places of all hiding places.
It was the final round and I slid into the master bedroom where often the game was not allowed, but this night we had opened up all boundaries. The bed was sitting atop captains drawers and had a tunnel that went end to end under the bed. The tunnel was concealed with a door and we stored very few items underneath. It was a tight fit for a grown man to slide into this tiny space, but I had to make it work. The king could not lose his crown to a bunch of kids. I slid in backwards into the dark and pulled the door closed behind me. I tried to scoot backwards quietly as to not alert my pursuers. I could hear all of the other competitors being picked off one by one. The problem now was that all exposed players were now looking exclusively for me.
I could hear the pitter patter of Cierra, the youngest girl’s, feet as she came into my bedroom and began walking around the room slowly opening everything from closet doors to drawers. I guess spatial reasoning isn’t well developed for a small child. In her mind, I could surely fit into a drawer. Suddenly the door of the captain drawers opened and all I could see were the big brown eyes of Cierra staring into the darkness. I hoped I could be quiet long enough that she wouldn’t recognize me in the shadows. A scream of excitement sounded and suddenly everyone arrived at the end of the bed. Cierra was the first to yell, “Let’s all get in here with Dad!” I came alive and yelled, “Okay, you found me!” Game over!” “Let’s all get out!” Little did they know, Dad has an extreme case of claustrophobia! In case you aren’t familiar with claustrophobia, it is the extreme or irrational fear of confined places. My irrational fear is beyond extreme. I suddenly began hyperventilating as the tunnel grew from one occupant to five. I felt like I could’ve thrown the entire bed through the ceiling as my heart raced. I began to beg the children to exit but none of them moved. I grew quiet and tried to gather my thoughts and find peace once again in what seemed like an eternity. Silence fell upon all of us and then I heard a small voice say, “Isn’t this fun Daddy?” Cierra was having the time of her life while I was feeling like my life was running out of time. Slowly the kids exited one by one, but it didn’t seem fast enough. I had already broken into a cold sweat and could feel my heart pounding against the floor as I slid toward the end of the bed.
That was the last day I ever used the captain’s tunnel as my secret hiding place. As a matter of fact, I never entered there again. I couldn’t take the chance of being trapped and suffering from my claustrophobic meltdown. Cierra found my favorite hiding spot that day and I would gladly turn it and the crown over to Cierra that day and begin hiding in more obvious places. I thought I would go crazy in that moment and realized that hide-and-seek played inside on a rainy day isn’t worth losing your peace over. That’s just crazy!