I am about to brave the far-reaching and untamed region of Ashlyn’s closet. Oh, yes it’s wild. It’s scary. And of all the expeditions I’ve embarked on in my life, this is one that turns my hands to ice and sets my feet trembling with fear. Just thinking about it sends a shiver down my spine so electric that it could light a small city. It’s not just that I am afraid of what I might encounter, it is that I am afraid I won’t ever return. B will have to send search parties, who may not return either. Years from now, a bespeckled man in a safari suit would stumble upon and announce, “Kat Groshong, I presume? It is exactly like adventuring into the darkest regions of Africa, crawling with fauna -lions and tigers and bears- enshrouded with thick, overhanging and overgrown flora.
A few days ago, Ashlyn cried out in that panicked voice that only a mother can hear from two floors away, “HELP ME!” I dropped a pot on the floor, skidded around the corner and flew up the stairs. By the time I reached her room, Ashlyn’s voice was weakening as she repeated, “Help Me, Mommy! “ I called out, “Where are you?”
“In the closet!”
I dashed into her room, and there she was wedged between a giant tiger and a humongous horse, surrounded by penguins, pinned by puppy dogs and guarded by Barbie and the Washington Mutual Ken doll. (It was a gift from the bank). I grabbed the door frame, firmly planted my feet as to not get sucked into the quick sand of toys and reached as far in as I could. Ashlyn stretched and as our finger tips touched, I lunged to grab her hand. With a solid pull, she was free. She stumbled past her captors, and we both crumpled to floor in exhaustion, chest pounding. In a move that only a mommy could make, I maneuvered my foot around the closet door. With all the strength I had left, I pushed and pushed until the door latched, assuring that none would escape. That’s when we heard a muffled cry. My first thought was that our Yorkshire Terrier had been captured and now trapped in the closet. Instead, it was merely Ashlyn’s new interactive baby doll crying for mercy after we landed on her. Ash giggled.
“What were you doing in the closet?”
“Looking for Narnia.”