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Stolen Lands

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

I have been with my high school sweetheart for 12 years now. 8 years of marriage, 4 states, 2 baby boys, a dog, and 6 chickens later, we have created quite a comedic family kingdom.

We spend every available moment with each other, children squeezed between us while we snuggle down to whisper sweet nothings in each other's direction. Conversation over dirty diapers and huge parenting milestones. The house is free for all, but one space remains our own. Our bedroom. And not only in the way that you imagine it. It's the space where we talk honestly to each other. Where we rest our heads, where we enjoy each other's company, and also where we get sweet with one another. It is our castle. He is the king and I, his queen.

One evening before the ritualistic bathtime/bedtime routine for the children, he sneaks me into our room for some quick kisses, only to have two squire boys chasing at his heels, yapping and biting each other. (The children, not the animals). They proceed to jump on his sacred bed and fight for some of Mommies' attention. The King's throne was being challenged. I could see Jacob watching the chaos, his eyes bulging from their sockets as his kingdom slowly slipped out of his grasp. This was no longer the land of milk and honey. It was being invaded. His Queen captured and otherwise occupied. No longer his for the taking. So he lays down the law by kicking the boys out while lecturing them about the privacy of a bedroom. Rules were laid on the table. Absolutes decided. They may enter by knocking and invitation only. Barging and Ramming the gates was not permitted. Once entered, jumping, bouncing, leaping or any sort of play was banned in this kingdom.

The squires cried, then laughed, then bound to the bathtub. The King, claims his rewards with a large triumphant grin. Since the battle, the children still join us in our room where we have designated family cuddles, movie nights, and some AEW wrestling events. But they have never again barged in the room. They always knock and politely await a response. To say I was impressed, would be an understatement.

Obviously, the throne and the Kingdom have been restored to its rightful owner. All is well.

The benefits are not just for Jacob's liking. I finally am at the point in life where I have THE bedspread and frame that I have dreamed of my entire life. I have decorative pillows, bleached white sheets, and the farmhouse headboard wrapped with fairy lights. I was just finishing up making the bed a few days later when I found a toy stuffy under it. I casually picked it up and replaced it in the living room toy bucket. But then, the next day, I found another, in the corner next to the dresser. The day after, a stuffie tucked into my closet.

For a week I reclaimed a toy a day, not knowing when it was put there. I could feel my brain starting to piece it together. Though I didn't know what IT was just yet.

I began an undercover spy mission. The target: My toddler. I discovered August, my two-year-old, taking a toy from his room every afternoon. He would carefully carry it down the stairs, walk into our bedroom and place the toy on the ground, then run away to find something else to entertain him.

I watched him for three days. The same sort of careless placement of his toy in our bedroom. In our kingdom. Then, it clicked. The little tyrant was overtaking! The war wasn't over. There was a secret underground battle happening and we didn't even realize it! He was marking his territory and claiming what he believed to be his rightful place in the kingdom. His little smiles and mischievous eyes were a dead give away.

I would say that I wasn't sure what to do with the information that I had in my hands. I still am not sure I understand the gravity of the situation. But I will do my civic duty to be a good and responsible citizen of our kingdom... I WILL report the truth. Or, the underground rebels WILL take charge and reclaim their stolen lands.

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