March 9, 2007. I wanted to mark this day down, because something happened last night that was simultaneously mundane and profound, something that makes me very sad, and at the same time very proud. It was a little thing. It was a huge thing.
Last night, the kids put themselves to bed.
Lintilla and I were both tired, so we laid in bed a while last night while the kids played with the dog on the floor. And before we knew it, we had both fallen asleep. I woke in a panic about an hour later (our light was still on, but there was no noise coming from the floor), so I got up and checked around. Zaphod was in his bed, sound asleep. Trillian was in hers. I went back to our room, an turned out the light.
This time, it took me quite a while to get to sleep.
This was the first night without getting cups of water to put on the nightstand. No bedtime stories. No closing of the closet door to keep monsters at bay. No goodnight “HugAndKiss” (you have to say it that way).
They just put themselves to bed. This makes me sad. This makes me proud.
As happy as I am for all the new births in our community lately, I get to be the Shleprock. It would behoove our new young parents to remember that our kids are not “ours”; they do not belong to us. They belong to God, and he lets us have them in our lives for a while. We adoptive parents are acutely aware of this. Oh, sure, we get to pass along our language, and our values (whether they stick or not), and most of you get to pass along your DNA.
When they are babies, we celebrate each new “accomplishment”: rolling over, crawling, babbling, talking, walking, eating from the “big” chair, moving to a “big” bed. What we don’t realize at the time is that every one of these accomplishments is also a tiny step away from us. Each one of them, in their own way is happy, and sad, and mundane and profound.
Why am I going on like this? I don’t know. It’s hard to express what I’m feeling. I’m in a zone right now where I am very aware of the stuff of life. Kids do that to you. Happy and Sad, worried and proud, eupohoric and depressed all at the same time. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Even if it only lasts for a blink of an eye.