Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Secret Life

There are things about our children that we cherish, things that Those Without Children will never understand – the way they call out when you come home from work, the cards they make for no reason at all, chocolate coated grins. This is why we have kids. We don’t realize it at the time, but they’re the things that make all of the other stuff, the hard stuff, bearable. It’s also what we have in mind when we tell Those Without Children why children are so wonderful and why we tell our own kids, when the time comes, that they will love being parents, too.

These things about our children that we cherish, however, are also what makes the other thing we cherish about them seem contradictory. Because what we may cherish the most about them is when they’re asleep for the night. Because that can truly be the only time for ourselves. It’s our secret life. We’re like Batman, but instead of bothering with crime fighting, we’re bothering with ice cream or a glass of wine, rated R movies, books and, of course, the internet. It’s the chance to relax, not answer any questions and wrap our minds around more than what damn clue Blue is looking for now or where the rest of the Silly Putty went. There is no Bat Cave, but there is a couch that I can now stretch out on and the TV remote that is mine, all mine. And sometimes, if I want it, there’s just silence. Nothing more. Just sweet, sweet silence. But TWC don't get this. Free time is something that becomes taken for granted and they walk around at all hours with their Batman costume on - a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening about 6 p.m. - with the utility belt all cinched up nicely and cape in place, sipping their white wine spritzers, or whatever cocktail is currently de rigueur these days. We know better, though. We know that Batman's secret identity shouldn't be flaunted, it should be protected at all costs.

As much as we love our kids, hearing their laughter, their squeals of joy, sometimes the steady rhythm of their breathing during sleep is the best sound of all.