54: When Darth Vader Attacks

54: When Darth Vader Attacks

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

When Darth Vader Attacks

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.

~Abigail Van Buren

Getting my eight-year-old son to clean his room should have been a five-minute chore, but in reality it was always the longest hour of my day. Yes, it would have been so much easier for me to just tidy it up myself, but that wouldn’t teach him responsibility. It was the same thing every evening. He would whine and complain, and I would try not to lose my mind. So here it was, 8:00 p.m. again. I opened the door to his room and looked around at the oh-so-familiar scene. The towel from his morning shower was on the floor. The sheet and blanket from his bed were halfway off. His books were never on his end table where they were supposed to be; they were usually somewhere on the floor among litters of Star Wars toys and dinosaurs. As I looked at the mess, I said to myself, “I’m a creative type. There must be a better way….” Then it hit me.

“Scott!” I sounded alarmed. “Quick, Darth Vader is on his way here, and he’s going to aim his death ray on all your men. They’re not protected; they’re all out on the planet surface.” At first, he just looked at me, uncertain if I’d finally lost my mind. “Come on,” I said. “You’re their commander. Get in there and get them back in the Millennium Falcon.”

“What do I do?” he asked with a smile.

“Open the hatch to the Millennium Falcon,” I said, pointing to his toy box. “Order your men to pick up all their equipment and weapons, and herd all the dinosaurs inside where they’ll be safe.”

He rushed as fast as he could to pick up each toy.

“Now you’ve got to pick up the books with the secret formula in them and put them on the stand with the magic light. It protects them so Darth Vader won’t be able to touch them.”

“Yeah,” he joined me. “Cause if he does try to touch them, this laser light comes on, and it burns a hole right through his hand.” He turned on his lamp to show me how it would work.

When he was done with the floor, I adjusted his shower water and called out to him from the bathroom. “Hurry, he’s almost here! You’ve got to get protected with the invisibility shower so he can’t find you. Make sure to throw your clothes in the hamper because if he sees them on the floor, he’ll know where you are.” No child ever ran so fast to take a shower.

“Make sure you use the invisibility soap and get it all over every part of you. If you leave any skin uncovered, he’ll be able to find you.”

I put his pajamas on his bed. “I left your ‘uniform’ on your ‘escape pod.’ Dry off and put it on.” I couldn’t believe this was working. While he showered, I went into the kitchen to put away the dishes.

When I heard the shower water stop, I returned to his room and noticed that he had dropped his towel next to the one from the day before. “You better pick up both those towels and put them in the hamper so I can wash them tonight.” He hesitated. “If you leave them out, Darth Vader will smell your scent on them and find you.” Now he rushed to pick up both towels, tossing them in the hamper.

“Make sure you brush your teeth with invisibility toothpaste, too. That way he won’t see your teeth when you open your mouth.”

Grabbing his toothpaste and toothbrush, he quickly brushed his teeth and, surprisingly, even put away the toothpaste and toothbrush without being told. This was catching on.

“Only one thing left so he won’t get you,” I warned.

“What’s that, Mom?” He was so excited. “Get into your escape pod and pull the invisible sheet and blanket up over you so you won’t be seen.” He jumped into bed, smoothing out his sheet and blanket.

“Goodnight, Commander.” I turned out his light. “You should be safe… this time.”

“Wait!” he called out. “He’ll see my head. I can’t keep my head under the covers or I can’t breathe.”

“You’re right, Commander,” I answered. “You need some invisibility dust on your head and even your arms, just in case they come out of the covers.”

“We don’t have any invisibility dust,” he replied.

“The Rebel Force smuggled out some for you just today. I’ll go get it,” I said as I walked into my bathroom and grabbed the talcum powder. Returning to his room, I held it over his head and arms, sprinkling it down on his arm and a little in his hair.

“I’m good now, Mom,” he said, rubbing it all over his head and arms.

“May the force be with you,” I said as I left. “What is the force anyway?” he asked.

“The force is God,” I answered. “We almost forgot; you have to say your prayers. Ask that the force of God is with you always.”

“For real, right?” he asked. “Not just when the pretend Darth Vader comes?”

“Roger that, Commander. The force is always with you. Good night.”

~Diana Perry

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