Saturday, November 22, 2008

He sleeps, only not here

Little man's having his first sleepover tonight. He had been at his friend's house this afternoon for a playdate. By dinnertime, they were having so much fun that he called and asked if he could stay the night.

His older brother and sister each had a few false starts before they were comfortable staying out the entire night. More often than we'd like to remember, my wife and I drove out at some ungodly hour to rescue a crying munchkin from a friend's house.

They'll deny it ever happened, of course, and when they read this they'll have yet another reason to hate me. Be that as it may, they're both now well past that awkward stage, and can easily make it through till morning without a held hand.

Their younger brother didn't seem to have the same reservations. He just...went. No drama. No nostalgia. When my wife went to the house to drop off his jammies, he grabbed the bag out of her hand with a quick thank you before quickly disappearing around the corner. I guess he didn't want to miss any playtime with his buddy.

He called home at bedtime, and told my wife he missed us and loved us all very much. He wanted us to give his dog a special hug and kiss because he missed him, too. Sweetness remains his middle name.

He'll always be our baby, of course, but today he seemed to shed another small piece of his childhood. I hope I've done a good enough job holding on to all of those little pieces. I hope someday he knows how hard I've tried to hold on to them.

Your turn: You know they're no longer babies when...?

19 comments:

colleen said...

This touches me and brings back memories. My youngest had less of a problem with sleepovers than his brother at a young age as well.

You know they're no longer babies or children when you go weeks without talking to each other because they are living their own lives.

cw2smom said...

Carmi! That's a wonderful entry! You must be an awesome dad to see and feel those things, then express them in writing! Hmmmm! I can't think of when I began thinkin' they weren't babies anymore? Maybe when they were able to safely manuever a theme park with a friend and check in by cell phone as I hung out with the smaller ones? I don't know, but it brought back some memories! LOL! Lisa

spwriter said...

Ah, I remember those days well. My sons were ever so brave...until right around one in the morning. We kept giving them opportunities to make it through the night but experienced more than a few "Dad...I don't feel good" phone calls and subsequent pick-ups before they finally found their sleepover stride.

My oldest is 22 now and on his own and growing into a fine young man capable and confident in all the right ways. I'm proud of the man, but miss the little boy. He did bring a sweet, nostalgic smile to my face the other day. He called me because his girlfriend was sick and he wanted some guidance on how best to take care of her.

I was more than happy to help. After all, what are dads for?

Erica said...

aawww that's so sweet that he called at bedtime. I'd say that's a sure sign you're doing something very right! ;-)

Mine really is still a baby so I can't answer the question. :P

sage said...

It's nice that you register such phases of life... I remember being sad when my daughter in Kindergarten didn't want to be hugged in front of the school, but now I'm so pleased when I pick her up for she often runs and jumps in my arms (and she's in the 5th grade).

kenju said...

He has reached a good milestone in the process of growing up, Carmi. This is a good sign....LOL. I remember the first time my oldest had a sleepover. How worried I was for him (and that he would behave himself!!) It is much harder to let the youngest kid go - but a bittersweet moment - nontheless.

Christy said...

I almost cried at the end of that! Losing the first tooth is what does me in for some reason.

me said...

As I read this I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. “MY baby would never want to sleep over someone’s house would they?” I don’t know when you know your baby isn’t a baby. I don’t think I am ready to know. I want to know how long will he climb into my lap and rest his head against me when he is tired/scared/happy?

Star said...

My youngest daughter lives in another state. She was home for a visit and her older sister said to me'It just dawned on me that "R" is a grown up" R is 30. They are always our babies.

Vodka Mom said...

I loved this post! My husband and I made many a late night trip to rescue kids after a "change" of mind.

They're no longer babies when they get escorted home by a police officer after being caught at an underage drinking party.

{i}Post said...

Ah, Carmi. The stages us parents have to watch our kids go through...so bittersweet. Wasn't there the teeniest, tiniest part of you that wished he wanted to come home? Both of mine left without a second glance and I often wondered why the heck they were in such a hurry to get outta here! Great post!

carli said...

Isn't #3 supposed to be independent, if the birth-order stereotypes are to be believed? To quote Parenthood:

"By the third kid, you let them juggle knives."

All This Trouble... said...

It's wonderful to know other people are loving and caring parents. As a nurse in an elementary school, I encounter children that have such a terrible time of it at home. I sometimes forget it's not all bad out there.

Two thumbs up to the brave little guy! And a pat on the back to you...

CK Lunchbox said...

...they use the word "impervious" correctly in a sentence before the second grade. My boys I see them less and less as my babies and more and more as little men. The girls on the other hand - different story. Nice post.

Vesper de Vil said...

My baby is 7, and he hasn't had a sleepover yet with anyone except for relatives.

Karen said...

I knew my 26-year-old daughter was no longer a baby when she had a baby of her own. I saw her become a kind, loving and selfless person who has become my best friend.

Thumper said...

I knew mine was no longer a baby when I had to tell him I had a brain tumor, and instead of turning into Giant Teenage Oh-Whatever-Dude, he jumped up and put his arms around me.

I knew he was a man when he called us from 1800 miles away to let us know that his fiance had had a psychotic break...and then followed it up with months of taking care of her when he could have cut and run. He gave up everything--school, his job, hanging with friends--to make sure she was all right, and even though they broke up later, he has no regrets. Oh yeah...that's when I knew my baby was truly a man.

MorahMommy said...

Great minds think alike. I also posted something about Noah's first sleepover experience. It's hard to believe that our baby is already 8 years old!

Rainbow dreams said...

Thanks for this Carmi... ahh collecting from sleepovers.. I remember having to get a taxi to collect our daughter late one night because we had both had a glass of wine..( she had slept over previoulsy with no problem!) an expensive round trip and then 5 mins after she was home she was flat out peacefully unaware of the dent in our pockets!!
They grow up so fast!