"No, Mommy. Don't turn the lights off!" Elizabeth cried out, as I walked out of her room.
"But it's time for bed, honey. What's wrong?"
"There's a monster in my closet."
I decided to play along this time, hoping my plan worked. I had tried the "Oh, it's just your imagination" and the "Monsters arenít real" lines, but they only appeased her for a while. Just long enough for me to fall asleep. Then she'd sneak into my bed, insisting she couldn't sleep because of the monster. So tonight, I hoped another technique just might work. "A monster, huh?"
I said a quick prayer, hoping I wouldn't scar my child for life. "You know, I just read about a monster invasion in the next neighborhood. Do you think maybe they made it here?"
Sara's eyes grew wide with fright, as she pulled the covers over her head. "I thought you said monsters weren't real!"
"But you think they're real, right?" The covers inched down until I could I could just see her eyes. Elizabeth nodded. "Well, I've got an idea. It just so happens I bought a monster hunting kit the other day. Should I try it out?" The covers came down the rest of the way, and Elizabeth smiled and nodded. "Well, you stay in bed while I get ready. I'll keep the light on."
I ran to my bedroom to get ready. I pulled on green sweat pants and a white shirt with a green monster on it, a red "no" sign over him. I wore goggles and a green hard hat. In my left hand I carried a fishing net, and in my right, a green glow-in-the dark flashlight. On my back I wore a green cape with the words "Monster Hunter" in yellow.
I leaped into Elizabeth's room and with both hands raised in the air I shouted, "I am the Monster Hunter!" I spun around so Elizabeth could read the words on the back of my cape.
Elizabeth giggled. "You're funny, Mom."
"You stay there. I'll turn off the lights. But don't worry. You're safe." I turned out the lights and walked over to the closet. "Hello? Is there a monster in here? You'd better come on out. You are no match for the Monster Hunter." I could hear Elizabeth giggling, but didn't dare turn around, for fear that if I did I too would fall victim to the giggle attack. "I'm going to turn on my flash light. Please don't run away. If you turn yourself in now, I promise I'll find you a new home."
I turned on the flashlight and shined it around the closet. "Aha! I found you!"
Elizabeth screamed, and as I looked back, her head was back under the covers. "Elizabeth, how big is this monster?"
"And what color is he?"
"Green. And he has big green teeth too!"
"Are you sure?"
"Really? Because I see a monster, but he's not big. He's not any bigger than your new puppy. And are you sure he's green? Because this one is pink. And he has purple polka dots." I pretended to put up a fight as I caught the monster in my fishing net. "Got it!" I screamed. I walked over and turned on the light.
Elizabeth was now sitting up in bed, wide-eyed and staring at the "monster," a stuffed toy I had purchased and placed in the closet.
"Is this what you were afraid of?" I asked. "Well, don't worry about it anymore. I'll make sure I find it a safe home," I said, walking out of the room.
"Wait!" Elizabeth cried. I peeked my head back into her room, the hard hat now crooked on my head. "Can I sleep with it?" she asked sheepishly.
"You mean you aren't scared of your big green monster anymore?"
She shook her head as she held out her arms to welcome her newest roommate.
"My work here is done," I said, swinging the cape around my face. "Goodnight, Sarah Elizabeth. Sleep tight. Don't let the monster bite." As I walked out of the room for the last time and turned out the light, I heard Elizabeth giggling and talking to the monster.
The big green monster never returned.
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