“Can I get up nie-ow, Momma?!?” I yelled down the hallway, dramatically rolling around on my bed. Minutes earlier, I had held her hand in front of the microwave as she pointed at the number on the display, 00:30, and firmly said, “When you hear the *beep*, you can come see Momma.”

I failed to realize thirty minutes (for a three-year old) is an eternity. In the purgatory of naptime, I debated which of the many planes on the wallpaper were my favorite (settling on the World War II era plane with sharp teeth on the nose), sang songs in my head, and, most importantly, tried to imagine what the kitchen looked like – or if it even existed – when I was not in the room.

Try as I might, I could not figure out how to observe the kitchen without actually seeing it or being in it. Something inside of me doubted it was there at all – or that it appeared how I saw it when I slid across the bubbled linoleum floor.

Shortly, I would turn my inquisition to the existence of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and Jesus. But for that moment, I willed the microwave to beep while sneakily trying on all of my sweaters and shoes as I quietly sang, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

My existential crisis could wait.

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