No two evenings in my home are quite the same. Some nights we’re running out the door to a piano lesson. Some nights we’re all eating a leisurely meal and listening to what we all did that day. Even the things we watch on TV (when that is what the kids choose for their “just one more before bed” activity) changes dramatically. The books they choose at bedtime, the pajamas they insist they need to wear; all of this changes from day to day, er, night to night.
I was not, therefore, surprised when I came home from work on Friday to find that my wife was out with our daughter at ballet and my mother-in-law (say a prayer) was keeping an eye on my son. He had been under the weather early that morning and didn’t go to school. By 4PM, however, he seemed well enough that he was practically bouncing off the walls, pining to go for a sleepover at Granny’s house. Hey, that’s two mentions of our favorite cancer patient. Go say another prayer! After a phone call with his mom, I determined that he would, in fact, be able to have that sleepover. “OK, son, I’ll go pack your bag for you,” I said to him. “Oh don’t worry, Daddy,” he replied. “I already packed it.” “What would you have done if I had said no?” I asked. “I would have just unpacked it and put everything back,” he replied, matter-of-factly. Hmm…
I went and checked his backpack. As I started pulling items out and placing them on the bed, I started checking off the names of each thing verbally as though running through a packing slip. “PJ’s, check. Underwear, check. Socks, check. Are they clean? Check. I’m impressed.” In fact, he had even packed two books for Granny to read to him at bedtime along with a pen and pad to write notes.
Here’s my point; and this is the thing that has, more than anything, motivated me to get back into posting much more often. My kids are growing up. Fast. Who told my son that he was allowed to be self-sufficient? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was cradling him in my arms and snuggling with him? Wasn’t it not that long ago that I was coming home from work to find my boy waiting for me, just waking up from a nap, eager to play with his Daddy? Isn’t this the same little kid that I was bathing and getting ready for bed? When did he learn to pack a bag for an overnight? I have to find a way to show him how proud I am without letting him know that I’m dying inside. I actually got sad as I was packing his things back into that backpack.
I better not let him see me like this. I better pull that tear back now. I better… “Daddy!” I looked up. “Come wipe my butt!” A smile came over my face. “Be right there, little man!” That’s more like it.