The girls are up in bed. They call it being "Put Away For The Night". It's an odd title for certain, one come up with on some long ago nightly trek up the stairs. I can't remember how long ago now.
There must have been that last sippy; older still, perhaps a last bottle. Surely there would have been the last trip to the bathroom to brush teeth, etc, etc. Most definitely one final story. Followed eventually by the Okay-This-Is-Absolutely-The-Last-Book-Do-You-Understand-'Cause-I-Mean-It-This-Time-I-Really-Do story. And of course the last call for hugs all around. Everyone involved in this no-holds-barred tangle of family that is and always has been our Night Time Hugs. One last round of "Good Night" and "Sweet Dream" wishes all around.
During one of those countless and precious evenings, it was titled "Putting The Girls Away For The Night". And it has stuck. In some off beat way, it has become our family vernacular for nighttime.
Highly progressed from the days of yore, the days when The Routine took nearly an hour and had to be very dutifully adhered to under threat of non-compliance by our munchkins. The processional of today is a streamlined version, everything abbreviated and shortened. Except for the hug; that still remains the raucous family event of its ancestor.
When the announcement heralds "Time to put the girls away for the night!" 4 feet march to the kitchen for that last slosh of water; 4 feet go marching loudly up the stairs to the bathroom; 2 feet go bounding into the bottom bed while the other set prefers to creep quietly to the top bunk. There is the round of "Good Nights". The sweet sounds of "Sleep Tights". The story. The last story. The Really Last Story.
All quickened. Deviations from the procedure go forgiven now. An oversight in the production go forgotten. It's a different time. Different children in some ways.
But it's still the same title. The same name.
Putting The Children Away For The Night.
I smile at that. So much changes as they grow up. So many things learned and altered. Even amongst the complexities and completeness of those changes, some of the most basic things stay the same.