I have been hesitant about sharing this story. Yes. I know that I am all over social media, and that I tend to (over)share pretty much every detail of my life, but this particular thing is quite intimate.
But this is my personal online journal, so you're in for it now.
Earlier this year, Eric and I spent a wonderful day at Legoland California. (Not what you were expecting, was it?) You can read about that experience right here.
We stumbled into one of the Sealife Aquarium gift shop and Eric found this little guy.
His name is Patrick and apparently he is a character on the children's TV show, Spongebob Squarepants. We did not know this because we don't watch tv, but that's not important right now.
Eric just thought he was a cute little pink starfish and thought that maybe our grandson, Asher, might like to play with him. But he couldn't have foretold what Patrick came to mean to us in the ensuing months.
It started innocently enough. Patrick showed up one day in my pj drawer.
I laughed out loud when I found him. And so, the game was afoot. Who could place Patrick in the most unexpected place?
I would make our bed and hide Patrick just under the pillows. When unsuspecting Eric was ready to climb into bed, Patrick would be waiting.
Patrick found his way into the kitchen as I unpacked groceries.
Or even once up on the ceiling fan in the dining room, peeking down at us from on high.
It became this long-running game where one of us would grab Patrick and hide him and sort of wait giggly and breathless until the other person found him. For example, I managed to sneak Patrick into Eric's laptop case and he took him to work. SUCCESS! (He didn't document that time, much to my disappointment.)
He quickly countered and packed Patrick into my suitcase when I went on an overnight trip.
By now it's obvious how Patrick came to mean 'I love you' to us. Hiding Patrick became a 'I've been thinking about you' game. It became a 'I know you're going to get a great laugh when you find him' game.
The Patrick Game has honed our sensitivity toward one another.
It has given us the opportunity to think about how much fun it will be when the other person finds him in the unexpected place.
And it's become an intimate way of communicating, 'I'm thinking of you.'
Finding Patrick in my make up bag cracks me up. It also makes me think that my husband took the time to know that I would find him there and he anticipated my smile.
And when I wake up and find Patrick waiting for me on my nightstand, I know that I am loved and I can't help but smile and think of Eric. Thanks, Patrick.
Do you do anything like this with your family? Tell me.