Zeca and I were cuddling in bed. I had my arm casually thrown over her side and we were simply staring at each other. Our time together is so often frenetic that these moments feel sacred. I noticed the deep brown of her eyes, watched as her fingers rubbed the satin edge of her little blanket and tried to memorize every line in her full lips. I know she was studying me too though I don't have access to those observations. The silence lasted for awhile and then she asked, "Why do you like other children more than us?" I pulled away quickly, like I had been literally shocked rather than figuratively, "That's not true. I love you and your brother more than anyone." She persisted, "Okay...but you are nicer to other kids than you are to us." My first instinct was to protest. I was indignant and and wanted to raise my voice and demand, "Why would you think that?!" but I didn't say a word for a few seconds and my indignance gave way to a more genuine and pained, "Why would you think that?" which I did say aloud. She told me I laugh more with other kids, that I'm less strict, that I seem to have more fun. I reflected on recent times when we'd gathered with our friends and their children and she had a point. These are the moments that haunt me. Insight is a gift but you can't undo what you have done. I could have dismissed it, could have said that it wasn't true - believe me, I wanted to do that. I just couldn't. So, I pulled her towards me until our noses touched and I told her that I could see her point. I explained that, sometimes, I get caught up in my role as her mom and forget to relax. I told her that sometimes the pressure of rules and manners and expectations get the best of me and I forget to have fun. I wanted her to understand that there is a different level of responsibility when you are a parent than when you are the goofy friend. She rubbed noses with me, her fingers still rubbing her blanket and she said, "Okay but I think you need to work on that." I smiled, hugged her tightly and said, "I will because I love you very much." She said she loved me too and then gave me a hug that nearly broke my neck.