Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong. I’m not really sure what happened. It crept up on me. It’s strange. As a parent, I operate under the delusion that I am in control, that I am driving the bus and then, like a little bell a dowager might ring to summon her tea, there is a none-too-subtle reminder…I am not in charge. Yes, I’m still in the proverbial bubble (it’s about to burst by the way) I have no diapers, no bottles, no drivers, no drinkers, the other thing I no longer have is bed time.
I had a great system in place. Cranky, Whiny and Punch are two years and eleven months apart, collectively. Bed time was the one easy thing about my Irish triplets: 20 minutes apart. In first grade Cranky was 7:30, Whiny 7:10, Punch 6:50—literally like clockwork. Slowly, through the years, the time inched forward. Still everything was fine; I was in control; I was under the impression I was in control, and then something happened—high school happened.
Cranky, 14, is a ninth-grader, a freshman as she would say; she has school, then sports and then home, for homework… homework— it used to be Jose and Martin selling cookies at a bake sale: if Martin sells twice as many cookies as Jose…—now it’s foreign diplomacy and string theory. The double whammy: I am unhappy and unhelpful. Then I hear the sentence I never thought I would hear and was woefully unprepared for: Mom, you go to bed. I need to finish this.
Wait. What? I’m getting put to bed? Suddenly it’s my bed time? I’m not sure why I’m complaining—it’s more a petulant protest than an actual gripe. As adults, we’ve learned any opportunity to take to the bed is welcome, but that’s beside the point.
I want my hour. I want to watch an illicit episode of Criminal Minds or The Mentalist secure in the notion that these children, my children are nestled all snug in their beds. Yeah, so that’s not happening…anymore…ever. Well, it’s an adjustment. I go to bed before my daughter—I will let that marinate. It will take some getting used to, but that’s probably the worst of it, the teenage years…right? And somewhere in the distance, I hear a bubble burst.