Not everything on Thinking Enemy is about an Enemy. Sometimes it is just about Thinking. And today I am thinking on a very personal level about why we do all this national strategy and homeland security stuff. It is not to advance national interests, no matter what the professors and textbooks and politicians say. It is to “Provide for the Common Defense and Promote the General Welfare” of those we love. I am thinking about that today because the little bed is going away.
This is the bed that every one year old hates and every two year old loves, for the same reason – because it is the first foray out of the crib – out of the security of the pack-n-play, and into the independence of your own bed with its own little pillow and its own little sheet. In seven and a half years, six of our grandchildren have made that transition. And now we are done. No more stories in the little bed. No more nightlights next to the little bed. No more “one more drink of water” in the little bed. No more little prayers in the little bed.
Everyone who visits, sleeps in a “big boy” bed now (or a princess bed as the case may be) – even Daniel, the littlest guy. And so the little bed is going. It is following out the door that shopping cart thing with the lights and annoying electronic music that six unsteady little people pushed through the kitchen until they learned to walk. And that dash board thing with a wheel and horn and blinkers and a radio button that played “Jimmy Crack Corn,” while little feet danced and big feet fled the room. Our house will never be the same again.
This is not a tragedy. It is just another phase of life. Parents hardly notice. They are just happy to be rid of the clutter. But pushing the bed out the door hits grandparents hard. They know what parents don’t – that the time between an empty little bed and an empty bedroom at the end of the hall is the blink of an eye. And then it is gone forever. Unless the kids bring home their kids, and then – for a brief Indian Summer – you get another turn at bat.
This time – if you are Thinking – you try not to blow it. You try to listen to the little voices, and give head to the little questions, and take the little egos seriously. Because, as the poet Andrew Marvell said, “At my back I always hear time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”
But that’s the rub. Even if you are Thinking, time hurries on. The little voices learn to get their own drink of water. The little feet make their own way to a big bed. And the little bed heads out the door. It becomes hard to ignore the fact that you will eventually follow it.
And so – what to do? Well, first, don’t miss the opportunities that this Indian Summer affords. And second – for those of us who understand that there ARE Thinking Enemies out there – Think Harder. That’s a very little bed in a very big and ugly world. Someone must stand watch if the occupant is to grow out of it, and into responsibilities of his own.