It is well past midnight and were I a smarter man I would be fast asleep in my bed. Instead I am seated at the kitchen table listening to iTunes share a collection of songs that mark my entire life. So I sit here wondering about life, people and things.
Like why is it called “fast asleep.” That doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose I could Google it but what fun would that be. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the time it takes to fall asleep. Certainly it is better to fall asleep quickly otherwise you might find yourself counting sheep. Or if you are like me you lie on your back and do higher math. You sit there, er lie there eyes wide open and contemplate how the universe is constructed and what your role is supposed to be.
Earlier today you sent out a Tweet about the dog eating the childrens’ candy and while it was intentionally goofy the sentiment behind it was not. Because there was a moment the night before where you looked at the kids and time stood still. You saw a witch and Obi-Wan-Kenobi transform into teenagers. It happened right in front of you, with your eyes wide open.
That boy suddenly shot up until he could look you in the eye and his voice got awfully deep. His sister wasn’t nearly as tall, but she was clearly a woman. Long black hair and a smile that lit up the room were joined to an exasperated, “daddy, no more pictures.”
The funny thing is that normally her brother hates pictures but that night it was different. For a few moments they were happy to oblige you with smiles and poses. Some of the songs from the Saturday Morning Music Mash play in the background and I smile as the kids sing along to Imagine. It is a cliche, but it still makes me happy.
Later on we’ll go to a party and walk the neighborhood with other parents and their children. The fathers and I talk about fatherly stuff but we still fulfill our role as the secret service. We walk with an ear to the ground and an eye peeled for things that can hurt, upset or scare the kids.
It won’t be much longer, these moments with the children. Won’t be long before they are too big to go trick or treating. Won’t be long before the elementary school years disappear completely and we enter the chaos of middle school.
As the night ends I’ll carry that witch into the house. For a moment I’ll stand on the driveway holding her in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder. I’ll close my eyes and listen to her breathe and remember the baby that she used to be. Soft snores will accompany my footsteps into the house and I’ll smile as the puppy runs alongside us.
Life is filled with moments that at turn into memories of the special, the sacred and the profane. I only hope to be present and aware so that I may enjoy them all.