I imagine this is something that happens to all of us, as we grow. It started, for me, the first time I lived on my own in a house with a kitchen (not a dorm). I would be cleaning something and for a moment a faded memory from childhood would superimpose itself over my activity - playing house, or watching my mother scrub a counter. It was something like deja-vu but different. The sensation is similar to how I feel now when I go back to where I grew up and drive once-familiar roads; everything is different but the memory of how it used to be lingers like a fog.
Last week we had our first night out for fun without J. She goes to bed early, by 6:30 most nights, and so was all tucked in when our seventeen year old babysitter arrived a little before seven. I took Beth on a quick tour of the kitchen, microwavable pizza and popsicles in the freezer, this is how to stream netflix on the wii, etc. and Andrew took out his wallet to pay her. We promised to be back around ten and off we went. As the door shut I could see her settling into one of the chairs, pulling out a book.
We were giddy, rushing to the car and off into the night to meet up with friends. As we drove away towards white wine and candlelight I could feel the echo, memories of watching very grown-up people head out for evenings of whatever-it-was-they-did while I watched their televisions, got their babies to bed, and scanned their bookshelves for something racy. I had always preferred babysitting at night, because of the sense of freedom and alone-ness once the little ones were snug and dreaming. I don't recall the least bit of curiosity about their parents' activities, out being adult somewhere.
Well, I thought to myself, leaning over to thread my arm through Andrew's and rest my head on his shoulder while he drove. This isn't so terribly grown-up, after all.