When it starts to rain outside, I always go into panic mode. “Did I leave the stroller on the driveway? Where’s my phone? The camera? Library books? Beach towels?” Not that I would ever leave these things outside. My fear is entirely hypothetical so yes, Mrs. Hale; those were tear drops on page 41 of The Sword and the Stone, tear drops I tell you so let’s just keep the library fine limited to the late fees, o-kay?
But last week when it started to rain, I realized what I had left outside. Our puppet theater.
The theater is big, really big, and there was no way I was going to go out in that insane storm and retrieve it
Unfortunately, our puppet theater has had a sort of tragic past. Things started well when our family went to a puppet show at the library one evening, and we laughed at the four man comedy group.
“Wow!” I said to the captain. “Woudn’t it be cool if we had one of those?”
“Well I could make one,” he said.
“You could?” I asked, completely astounded. I view the skill level required to build a puppet theater and build a rocket as about the same so obviously I was impressed. “Could you make one for the kids by Christmas?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said. I wrung my hands in sheer excitement as I realized what totally awesome parents we were. We were the nourishers or our children’s creative souls. I could see them spending hours with the theater, and someday our four boys would create their own puppet comedy troupe, bringing joy to thousands of children all over the world.
My captain spent hours in the garage on it, and he came through in a big way. He even sewed the curtains for it. I bought a few puppets for it, and we just couldn’t wait for Christmas morning.
The kids were a little confused when they saw it, (they were actually hoping for a Wii) but they thanked their dad after I reminded them to a few times. The puppet theater sat in the basement, and sometimes the neighborhood children would come and play with it.
A few years later, we had a teenager on our hands, and it was no longer cool for his friends to hang out near a puppet theater. I showed them all the amazing cowboy we had and the really cute nurse, but they were unimpressed.
So we shoved it into the guest room which completely blocked access to the room. Unfortunately, because I kept stepping on Legos, they were experiencing the same series of demotions as the theater, so they were also banished to the guest room. (Yes, now our guests step on them.) There wasn’t room for both the Legos and the theater, so the theater went into the storage room so it could block access to all of our food. Finally, it went up to the attic.
I went to a free storyteller’s workshop and puppets came up. I foolishly raised my hand. “Uh–yeah, so we have a professional puppet theater, but it’s now in our attic.” I guess I just needed to confess my guilt to somebody, but this was obviously not the right group as there was a huge gasp and then profound murmuring. I was surrounded by teachers and librarians, and I was sure they were going to grab their pitchforks. The guilt came back three fold.
So when my friends and I started our sand bucket list this summer, I put the puppet theater on our shady back deck, and it’s been out there for three months. The rain has pelted it, the wind has blown on it, and the sun has bleached it, and while elements have had their day with it, my children have pretty much ignored it.
So last week, as it poured it outside and I reflected on its sad demise, I realized that I had not actually gotten down behind the stage and played with it myself. I had never told a story, never let the nurse perform malpractice on the cowboy, or even let the alligator eat the knight. It’s about time I started don’t you think?
What amazing toy, game, or other awesome purchase have you neglected?
Check out Why Boys Should Still Open Doors for Women. I got it posted pretty late, but my late night posts are my craziest.