A Move to Pleasant Palace
“I don’t like moving,” Ted said, staring at the piles of boxes on his bedroom floor. “Do I have to pack the explorer books that I got for my birthday?” He was nine now and loved to read.
“How else will they get to our new house?” Dad asked with a smile. “I know moving is a lot of work, but we needed a more affordable place to live.”
Ted sighed and began pulling books off his shelf.
“The Lord really blessed us with finding an apartment near Dad’s work,” said Mom. “Let’s focus on the good things about this move.”
“Like bunk beds in our new room!” said seven-year-old Beth, skipping through the doorway. “Can I have curtains around my bed like a princess?” She wrapped a silky scarf around her shoulders and tried to twirl. Instead she tripped over a pile of books and landed in a heap, laughing.
“Just look what you did!” Ted scolded. “I don’t want Beth in my room if she’s going to mess everything up. Besides, I want the bottom bunk.”
Dad sat on the bed and pulled Ted and Beth near to him. “Moving will bring a lot of changes for us all,” he said, looking from one to the other. “I’m counting on you two to be my big helpers. Let’s pray that you can get along and think about others before yourselves.” He looked into their eyes seriously and then bowed his head.
Ted added his own prayer after Dad’s. “Help me to like moving and to be helpful even when I don’t feel like it.”
“Amen,” Mom agreed with a smile. “We’ll need everyone’s help with the new baby coming. Beth, why don’t you play with Adam now? He’s up from his nap and needs to be kept out of mischief.”
The next few days were busy ones. The shelves and closets were emptied into boxes and bags. Soon the rooms were looking empty and the living room was piled high.
“Where are my doll’s clothes?” Beth asked, digging through a pile of bags marked BABY, ADAM, and TOWELS. “Gertrude needs her coat.”
“I can’t find my Lego set, either,” said Ted from the easy chair.
“You’ll have to wait until we unpack,” Mom said with a tired smile. “I’m looking forward to getting moved in, too. This packing has worn me out!”
“Tomorrow we’re taking everything to the new place,” Dad said. “And guess what?” He swung Adam high in the air and looked at his two oldest. “Auntie Ruth is coming to stay a week to help us settle in.”
“Yippee!” said Beth. “That will be lots of fun!”
“When will she get here?” asked Ted, tossing down his book.
“Friday afternoon,” Dad said. “For now, let’s get dinner on. Mom needs a break.”
“Auntie! Come and see our new room!” Beth said, leading the way through the maze of boxes in their new apartment.
“So this is your bunk bed,” Auntie Ruth said with a smile. “Who gets the top?”
“Me!” Beth said, climbing up. “I’m the princess in the top of the tower and Ted is the knight who fights off the attackers.”
“Is that right?” Auntie asked, laughing.
“Well, I said that I needed to be on the bottom so I could defend her,” Ted admitted. “Dad says we need to learn to share a room so we can practice being kind to each other.”
“That’s right,” Auntie agreed. “I always shared a room with your mom when we were growing up. Where is Adam going to sleep?”
“In Mom and Dad’s room until the new baby is born,” Beth said. “But I think he’ll mess everything up.”
“Especially my Lego models,” Ted said. “Want to see them? They should be in one of these boxes.”
“Not yet,” Auntie Ruth said. “Let’s save that for tomorrow. I need to see what your mom has planned for dinner.”
“Dad ordered pizza for tonight,” Ted said quickly. “Maybe we can play my new Twister game.” He pulled out the box and Beth scrambled down from her bed.
“Let’s first set the table and make up a salad,” Auntie suggested, putting on an apron. “We can make our work fun, too. Ted, you can clean off the table while Beth helps with the salad.”
“Cleaning up isn’t fun,” Ted said with a frown. “We’ve been doing it all week!”
“Packing, you mean,” Beth said, bringing a stool to the sink. “You didn’t clean much of anything!”
“I did, too! Dad made me—”
“There’s plenty of work to do without arguing about it,” Mom interrupted from the hallway. “Can Adam help in here? He needs something to do.”
“He can help wash lettuce,” Auntie agreed. “Come, Adam. Let’s wash our hands!”
“But lettuce was my job,” Beth grumbled.
“Well, little princess,” Auntie Ruth said, “the fun of it comes when we have more of us. I think this is rather like a palace that we must get ready for the king before he returns.”
“Is the king our Dad?” asked Beth.
“Yes, he will be the King of Kindness,” agreed Auntie. “And there is the Queen of Quietness, and the Knight of…”
“The Knight of niceness,” said Beth.
“Niceness isn’t a word,” said Ted.
“What about Nobility,” suggested Auntie. “To be noble is to be respected for good character.”
Ted stood taller. “That sounds good!”
“What about me?” asked Beth.
“You could be the Princess of Peace… or patience.”
“I like peace better,” said Beth. “I don’t like to wait for things!”
“To be a peaceful princess, you’ll have to consider how to help others be happy,” reminded Auntie. “I think Adam will be Prince Helper. Just see how good a job he’s doing with the lettuce!”
“Good boy,” Beth said sweetly. “Can I cut up the carrots, Auntie?”
“Surely,” said Auntie Ruth. “And our Noble Knight looks about ready for setting the table. Hmmm, did the dishes get unpacked?”
“Daddy’s back!” Beth said, jumping down from her stool.
“Daddy!” echoed Adam, waving a lettuce leaf.
“The King of Kindness,” reminded Ted, opening the door.
“I brought some paper plates and cups so we won’t have so many dishes,” said Dad, coming through the door, his arms full of groceries.
“That was very thoughtful,” said Auntie Ruth, taking the grocery bag.
“Yum, tangerines!” said Ted. “My favorite!”
“I think your dad is very kind,” agreed Auntie. “And I have some very fine helpers in the kitchen tonight. As soon as the pizza is cooked we should be ready to eat!”
“Wonderful,” said Dad.
“It is really a palace and you are the king,” said Beth, swinging around his leg. “And Mom is the Queen of Quietness and I’m the Princess of Peace and Ted is the Knight Nob—actually, I don’t remember—and Adam is the kitchen helper.”
“The Noble Knight and the Prince Helper,” put in Auntie. “Well, then, palace helpers, let’s get back to work!”
“This will surely be a pleasant palace to live in,” Dad said with a grin. “Let me go see how my queen fares tonight.” He disappeared down the hall as the kitchen returned to activity.
“Auntie, Ted isn’t setting the table!” Beth said. “You aren’t suppose to eat the tangerines! Those are for after dinner.”
“Who says?” Ted said.
“Well Dad got them for us to share, and if you eat one now you aren’t sharing,” said Beth.
“One important thing to remember about this palace is to watch out for invaders,” said Auntie Ruth. “I think I’ve spotted one already.”
“What are invaders?” asked Beth.
“The selfish monster is one,” Auntie said in a whisper. “It is very sneaky and gets stronger every time someone uses an angry voice or demands their own way. I hope no one will get caught by him because he stuffs them in his bag of bad attitudes. It’s really a terrible place to be.”
Ted looked at Beth and then down at his tangerine. “I’ll share with you,” Ted said, giving her a piece.
“Me!” said Adam, from his perch at the sink. Ted popped a piece in his mouth.
“That was a very good attack on the monster, Noble Knight,” Auntie said with a smile. “I think he just about melted!”
“He melts when we are nice,” added Beth. “Shall I put the salad dressing on the table, Auntie?”
“Yes, and put these extra carrots away, too. Ted, please put Adam in his high chair while I cut the pizza. Are the cups out?”
“I’ll get them!” Beth offered, shoving the vegetable bin closed.
“Here they are in this bag,” Ted offered. “Dad even got plastic forks.” In less than a minute the table was set.
“Very good,” said Auntie. “Now it is time to call your parents for dinner. But remember, no yelling.”
“Or else the monsters will come!” added Beth.
“I’ll go knock on their door,” Ted offered. “I’ll invite the king and queen to come to the table for a Pleasant Palace Pizza Party!”