I was staring blankly this morning, pretending I was still under warm blankets, when I began to discern in the back of consciousness our 5-year-old son’s voice persistently poking at me for an answer. To what, I did not know. Sometimes he talks so much I… I… I sort of tune him out. (The kid likes to hear himself talk. I have to admit, he gets it from both of us. Still, sometimes, with his constant barrage of words raining down, I want to pull the covers back up and assume the fetal position.)
“Mom. They talk about it on TV. They say: Ask your parents if you can come.”
The engine in my head was starting to warm against my will. I half-heartedly tried to wrap my head around what he might be talking about at this early hour when all I wanted to think about were my own dreams.
“They say: Chuck E. Jesus. It’s on TV. Have you ever been there? It’s called Chuck E. Jesus: ask your parents if you can come.”
I groaned inwardly. What do Chuck and Jesus have to do with one another? Suddenly a light bulb came on in my head, and I worked hard not to break into a wide, I’m-making-fun-of-you grin when I recognized his misnomer.
“Oh! You mean Chuck E. Cheese’s.”
He tried that out: “Chuck E. Cheese’s. What is it like? Have you ever been there?” Whatever commercial he’d seen on the television had rendered him almost breathless with anticipation.
“I was there once, a long time ago. It’s like… a restaurant for kids with games… and stuff. There’s one in Billings.”
“Chuck E. Cheese’s. Can we go?”
“Sure, bud. One of these days. We’ll get you to Chuck E. Cheese’s one of these days.”
And I closed my eyes again and laughed — not at him, but with him.
© Tami Blake