Not long ago my wife and I were awakened around 2:00 a.m. to the sound of someone standing in our doorway, possibly whimpering. Years ago, this might have been alarming. Before we had children, we certainly would have been shocked an alarmed to discover someone in our hallway in the middle of the night. Once our first couple of children became mobile, nocturnal wanderings have become less surprising. Now that we have five children-well, let's just say it takes something special to qualify as "new" to us. As a result, instead of being concerned, alarmed, or curious as to what is happening after we have gone to bed, we now are just irritated.
On this particular night I think I asked in a fairly gruff manner, "what do you want?" The voice that responded was from Charissa- our five year old daughter. She was close to tears when she responded, "I'm tired." "So go back to bed!" my wife and I almost bellowed in stereo. "Oh . . . okay" she answered- as if it had never crossed her mind that maybe just staying in bed could fix her tiredness problem.
Charissa happens to be the same child who brought me a picture of a couple baby deer yesterday and pointed out the animals. I asked her if she knew what kind of animals those were. She had no idea. You can tell that we no longer live in rural Pennsylvania. When Ty and Nicole were far younger than that, they knew all about deer. They were accustomed to having dead deer hang from their swing set while I skinned them (the deer, not the kids) and cut off the meat. They were accustomed to the neighbor's dog digging up the bones that hadn't been buried well enough and then leaving the bones all over our yard. They lived in a culture where the first day of deer hunting season was a holiday- the schools gave everyone the day off. At age three or four Ty was so used to that culture that when we went to town and entered the "mall" (yes, I use the quotes with purpose), upon seeing a Santa Clause display complete with reindeer his excited response was, "Look dad, a deer- bang, bang . . . bang, bang!"
Now I'm just hoping not to hear "bang, bang . . . bang, bang" (or anything else) at two in the morning.