April Fools' Day.
I always forget it's April Fools' Day until I get April-fooled.
More than once. By the kid.
I'm pretty sure she has been planning her big April Fools' joke on me weeks in advance, confident she would get me when I least expected it and ready to fall over laughing at her ingenuity.
It drives her crazy that she can't pop out from behind something and scare me witless. I'm usually pretty unflappable and, like most moms, know where she is and have a third sense about when she's going to jump out from somewhere and yell "BOO!" in an attempt to give me a heart attack. She sags and sighs when I simply respond with a "hey there," instead of screaming and falling over or fainting.
She has succeeded only once. She managed to pull it off and kick my fight or flight response into high gear. It almost got her stabbed. She's been a little more wary about what I'm doing or carrying when she tries to scare me now.
A bit before the time change, when the evenings came early and we were still doing chores in the dark, I was headed to the hay shed with a pitchfork in hand to grab a load of hay for the animals. I get pretty wrapped up in what I'm doing during chore time so I don't forget anything or fail to feed someone.
Little did I know she was hiding in the hay, in that dark and sometimes spooky shed, waiting to jump out and scare me. Not too long ago there was a raccoon in the shed, and it jumped out and startled me when I opened the door. So, I've been a bit wary, waiting for another one to jump at me and go for my throat.
It was dark outside, my mind was on the chores and I was already a little wary of critters hiding in the hay shed as I pulled open the door.
She jumped out from behind a bale of hay and roared at me, hands up and curled like a monster. I just about died. My first and instant instinct was to raise that pitchfork in defense, ready to go into offense mode if necessary. Less than a foot away from the business end of those sharp tines was my kid, eyes wide, mouth dropped open in shock at the sight of her mom wielding a pitchfork in her direction.
I'm sure I looked like a crazy person in my mud-caked boots, dirty jeans and flannel chore coat while wielding a pitchfork threateningly in the dark. My heart was pounding and I'm pretty sure more than a few unsavory words came out of my mouth when I realized it was her and not some wild raccoon ready to rip me to shreds.
She fell over into the hay, clutching her belly and laughing hysterically.
"I did it!" she said gleefully. "I did it! I got you! I got you! I really scared you good!"
By this time I have my wits about me again, but my knees are shaking at the thought that I almost accidentally impaled my kid with a pitchfork.
"Yeah, yeah, you did. You got me good. But I almost got you! I almost stabbed you, you nut!"
"You wouldn't have stabbed me. I'm your kid."
"Not on purpose. But you scared the crap out of me! I might have stabbed you. I could have stabbed you right in the eye."
I wanted to be angry that she finally managed to scare me that badly, and angry that I reacted so badly, but I couldn't muster it up with her sitting there laughing her fool head off.
I made her promise to never, ever try to scare me again if I have something sharp in my hands. Like a pitchfork or a chainsaw. Or a machete.
So, I guess I'll be walking around all day on April Fool's Day with a pitchfork in my hands.
Just in case she does try to get me good again.
Because she's getting darn good about being able to sneak up on me.