A friend once asked me if my mother sang to me when I was a child. I couldn't remember my mother singing to me, couldn't tell my friend whether or not my mother could carry a tune. I sing all the time and it struck me as odd that I had never thought about this aspect of my past. My friend's question stayed with me and I was able to ask my mother during what turned out to be our last meaningful conversation. For the record, she didn't sing to me but sang "You Are My Sunshine" to my older brother and sister. She eventually stopped singing because she didn't feel that she could carry a tune. Sometimes, it is the absence of a memory that is most revealing. The other night, Miguel called down from his bedroom screaming, "There is blood everywhere!" I dashed up the stairs to find him in his bed with a teeny, tiny paper cut - hardly the bloodbath that I had expected. I calmly comforted him and then took him into the bathroom for a band-aid. I gently cleaned his little wound and wrapped a Sponge Bob band-aid around his finger. He looked up at me and said a little "thank you" before returning to bed. It was an unremarkable moment for him and I realized that he takes me for granted in the most wonderful way. When I was seven, I could not say the same about my mother. I don't remember my mother ever giving me a band-aid, yet another revealing absence of memory.
I spend a lot of time pondering all that I do wrong as a parent but that night, in the bathroom with Miguel and Sponge Bob, I was able to see of what I have done right.