“Daddy, can we play tickle monster?”
This question has been presented to me on a daily basis for the past 5 years.
I don’t even remember how the “Tickle Monster” game found it’s way into my life.
As do most things in my world it sort of developed.
I’m assuming it’s from the fact that I place the 3 kids on the bed, roar like a monster, and tickle them until they can’t breathe.
Then they ask me to do it again.
Somewhere along the line it turned into a game with rules.
These get made up on a quarterly basis.
The latest development is Tickle Monster 5.34.
I now pretend to be asleep holding the “Magic Coin” (a penny) and when they sneak up and take it I awaken with a roar and tickle them until the Magic Coin is released and I gain possession and once again fall into a peaceful slumber.
Sohaila, the 10 year old, she LOVES this game with a passion.
She creates all the rules and begs me daily to play.
I’m serious.
5 years.
She must LOVE to be tickled.
I hate being tickled.
But she loves it.

Then about a month ago, I had an awakening moment.
The kind that moves mountains.
When we finished playing I walked out of the room.
Seanna, the 8 year old, said she wanted to keep playing and be the Tickle Monster.
Sohaila said only Daddy could be the Tickle Monster.
Seanna tried desperately to tickle her big sister but Sohaila just laid there.
Not even laughing.
I was peeking from around the corner.
Seanna said…”Why aren’t you laughing?”
Sohaila…”Because I’m not ticklish”

My eyes grew wide.
Like I had just discovered I was adopted or something.
She’s Not Ticklish?!

I ALMOST walked in the room and said…”WHAT?!”

“Don’t tell daddy.  Please Seanna? I don’t want him to stop playing Tickle Monster with us.”

In that moment I knew all I needed to know.
She plays tickle monster so her daddy can hold her, hug her, wrestle her, laugh with her, roar at her, and simply…
Be with her.
She.  Is.  Not.  Dying.  Laughing.  Because.  She.  Is.  Being.  Tickled.
She.  Is.  Dying.  Laughing.  Because.  She.  Is.  Being.  Loved.

Here’s to monsters that tickle, read, hold, chase, or dance.
The Tickle Monster