'Hey,' said DH, 'I have a good idea.'
Uh-oh, I thought.
'What might that be?' I asked.
'Go pick me up a fast-food burger and fries. I'm super hungry. But get the burger with no bun and I'll put it on a gluten-free bun when you get home.'
Hmm, that is a really good idea, isn't it? Trouble is, his being gluten-free has prevented us from making a great many poor nutritional choices over the past couple of years along exactly these lines, and this good idea of his can never now be un-known. Dang.
'Dammit, that sounds amazing. But why do I have to go?'
'Because I'm... wearing pyjamas?'
'You're clearly not wearing pyjamas.'
'Because I'm really lazy and I don't want to get off the couch?'
'I'll buy that for a dollar. Fine, I'll go.'
'Don't forget french fries.'
'Yah, yah. Hey, d'you think we should let Medium Fry in on this action?'
'I dunno. Do you think she can handle it?'
'She can totally handle it.'
'Alright. Bring her.'
Thus marked Medium Fry's initiation into a closely-guarded yet oft-conjectured secret of adulthood: sometimes there really is a party going on after you go to bed, kids. We've been lying all this time.
This might not seem like much of a secret of adulthood to you, but I assure you the late night burger run is more than just the sum of its delicious parts. It's sneaking out under the stars in your pyjamas on a silly, impromptu mission to satisfy Dad's meat tooth. It's alone time in the car with Mom, chatting and laughing about whatever with no interruptions. It's another small ratcheting up of the ante, a carrot for all those sticks you've endured: yeah, it sucks that you have more homework and chores and personal hygiene requirements than your little brother, but check out the perks up here.
This made me think of something I recently saw on the FB page of a group I follow. To summarize: how does your family mark the passage of your children into adulthood? Easy. We don't. Here's the gist of the thesis around my house: the passage isn't a point in time, it's a meandering, sometimes messy, path, and it doesn't need to be "marked" - it needs to be guided, taught, encouraged, allowed to make its own decisions and mistakes, and occasionally provided a timely (loving!) kick in the ass.
Or a junior bacon cheeseburger at midnight. Depending on how things are going.