So Long to The Toddler Bed: A Father’s Day Meditation

This Father’s Day we marked a milestone: we retired the toddler bed that my four year-old was sleeping it. This was probably overdue:

T in 2015

So I rolled up my sleeves, and in a Dad-power feat of strength and skill, put together a new bed. (Thanks to the elves of Småland for entertaining our children so we could get this done; the boys tend to view a trip through IKEA as the opportunity for a prolonged game of Hide and Seek).

I’ve been travelling for the last few weekends, so I was relieved to just be at home spending time with my wife and kids, and this was a chance to get T a new bed. Retiring the toddler bed is bittersweet. We transitioned my older boy to it before he turned three in anticipation of the birth of his brother (which occurred two years and 362 days after his own). He slept until we moved to Connecticut in 2013, at which point he moved to the bunk bed promised him as a condition of moving here. Since then, my younger son has been happily sleeping in it.

My children are not particularly sentimental by temperament. Thus, I was surprised when my older boy asked us what was going to happen to the toddler bed. “I suppose we will give it away,” I said. “We should keep it,” he said, “so we can remember.”

As a parent, I understand this impulse. We saw Inside Out this weekend, which is a potent medication on the fading of childhood memories. I was glad that the lights did not come up before I could wipe the tears from my eyes. My impulse it to try to hold on to all of these pieces of my boys’ childhood, although doing so is really impossible. I feel like this time is slipping through my fingers like sand, not to come again.

So here is my Father’s Day with for all of the mommies and daddies and grandparents and caretakers who work every day to make their children’s lives special: mark these occasions. Take pictures. Take time to reflect and remember when a beloved toy is being put away or given away, when your child can’t wear that favorite shirt anymore, when you are moving to a new home. These events may mean more to you than your children because time seems eternal to them, but we know it goes by too fast.

[Don’t worry, though. We are giving away the bed.]

2010. Don't worry, they didn't actually sleep this way
C and T in 2010. Don’t worry, they didn’t actually sleep this way