“What?” I gasp as my head comes off the pillow.
Something woke me. I listen as intently as only a mother who is constantly sleep deprived can.
Nothing. I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow again.
I open my eyes. I’m hearing heavy breathing.
My husband is at work. My children are in bed. It’s around midnight.
Who is this heavy breather?
Heart pounding, I noiselessly slide out of bed and tiptoe to my bedroom door. A quick peek reveals someone on the floor at the end of the hall.
Before I can think of what to do next, I realize—I know that guy on the floor! He’s my 11-year-old, Mark. Looking closer, I see he has the family television, the old kind with the big tubes, all 19 inches of it, on his chest.
I casually start down the hall, trying not to smile. “What are you doing?” I ask as if we’ve run into each other in Wal-Mart.
“Mama, help me get this off!” he says frantically. “I can’t breathe!”
“Sure you can breathe or you wouldn’t be able to talk. So, what are you doing?” I repeat as I lean against the wall.
Knowing from experience I wasn’t going to give in, he explained with plenty of dramatic huffing and puffing.
“When you took away my TV because of that note from the teacher, you said I couldn’t watch my TV in my room.”
“You didn’t say I couldn’t watch this TV in my room. So I pulled the TV stand over to the hall door on the carpet, because I knew that wouldn’t wake you up.”
“But I knew pulling it across the tile here at the end of the hall would make too much noise and wake you up.”
“So I tried to get the TV to my room by putting it on my chest and inching over to the carpet.”
“Then I was going to put it back on the stand and pull it the rest of the way to my room on the carpet.”
Now he is really out of breath. I help him get the TV back on the stand.
“Wow!” he says when he catches his breath. “I’m never doing that again.”
“Good idea,” I say wryly. “Now go to bed. And no TV from anywhere on the planet.”