It happens almost imperceptibly. One day you notice the one who always came into your room at night to climb into your bed doesn’t any longer. And then you notice she doesn’t complain anymore when you turn the light off at night. And the one who insisted on a drink of water each night before he went to sleep stopped asking for that drink. And one day you notice that when he goes to sleep, he closes his bedroom door, and you have to knock before you go in to say goodnight.
One day they don’t need you to help them take a bath, or get dressed, or to wipe their nose. They don’t need you to read for them anymore either, at night, the Goodnight Moon, or Peter’s Purple Crayon, and that nighty ritual somehow vanishes not suddenly and strikingly but slowly and subtly.
And then one day, sitting at dinner, you suddenly notice that he eats olives, and in fact quite enjoys them. And she, suddenly, somehow and entirely out of the blue, professes a love of brussels sprouts. He mysteriously pulls away in the car one morning, with no one else in it! And the truth is, you really have no idea where he is going. Hopefully to school, but after all, who knows? He needs razors (for his face), and so does she (legs). You come down one morning and one of them (you can’t remember which) was reading the New York Times. The front page, and with a furrowed brow, worrying over climate change, or war, or some such thing.
And then one day you look, and suddenly you realize that he is a young man, and she a young woman. Adults, perhaps not yet fully or finally formed, but (almost) entirely independent, with their own hopes, dreams, concerns, tastes, and even their own sense of who they are and who they want to be.
And you think in your mind – one day. But how did that day come so soon?