BOOOO! He yells, with a huge smile painted across his face as he jumps out from behind the guest bedroom door.
"Whoa! You scared me!" I exclaim, my eyes forcibly opened as wide as I can make them before letting a smile of my own creep over my own face.
It's a game Lukas and I play a lot even though both of us are well aware that he has neither surprised nor scared me.
At that point I will usually let him know "I'm gonna get you" which, in turn, will send him scurrying down the hall in an attempt to flee.
Always a second too late, my arms grab at him and cross each other in a sweeping motion just after he has passed me by. He travels so fast that I seem to hear the sound of his laughter only after the streaking blur of his tiny body has exited my direct line of sight.
Then, finally in pursuit and sliding on my socks across the softwood floor as I enter another room, I will lean my body backwards to slow my momentum.
"Where did he go?" I will call out in an inquisitive yet devious voice, to no one in particular. "I'm sure he came this way!" It's at about this time a muffled giggle usually comes from behind or under some peice of furniture.
"What was that!?" I will exclaim as I look around the room, trying not to make it too obvious that I can see a foot, or a bum, or a ruffle of hair sticking out from somewhere in the room. "I know you are in here somewhere, because I can hear you!" I will taunt. "And when I find you, you are really gonna get it."
About this point I can always count on him to call out something like "I'm in the baaaathrooooom!" To which I will most often give an "Ah Ha!" before turning to leave the room for the said bathroom, giving Lukas the perfect opportunity to slip out to another room and to continue the game, often with me again recovering and in hot pursuit.
This is a lot of fun.
Like I said, neither of us really think that during this game I couldn't find or catch him any time I wanted to. But that just adds to the fun.
Because this game between us is never a serious game of hide and seek. It's more of an excuse to be silly and most of all to laugh. We do a lot of that, he and I. If anybody were visiting, they might think me a good dad because interactions just such as these.
I suppose that's true, but that's only half the story. The other half involves a full time working dad who is pretty busy these days.
One who internalizes many of the stresses of his daily grind. One who needs a good laugh at the end of a long day and who benefits immensely from being silly and letting those stresses melt away.
One who really enjoys being a dad, playing fake games of hide and seek, and most of all laughing with his boy.