This evening after dinner, a seminal event occurred: after finishing their dinner, the girls ran off to play. Edwin, hearing their merriment, indicated he'd like to get down too, and then ran off after his sisters. Brandon and I stayed in the kitchen and washed the dishes in peace.
Every dinner we've had previously has ended with somebody being forced to finish, the others hanging around the kitchen while playing, fighting, asking endless questions, making endless requests, and getting under the feet of anyone trying to do anything useful.
But we've reached a new stage in parenting, the new stage where our children enjoy playing by themselves. Kathleen and Sophia have become, on occasion, more interesting to each other than their parents are.
It's strange, to reach the end of constant leech stage and move on to something different, and even more strange to realize that that stage will never come again. I will have individual children who will find me so irresistible they can't leave me, but never again will all of them swirl around me constantly, satellites to my planet. I won't be surrounded by a constant of little voices, moving wherever I move, and providing constant company.
And I'm thrilled.