I wasn’t going to be home for bedtime. But then the late meeting never happened. Only I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to. Miscommunication on the date. With a broken cell phone, email or call service is unavailable. How will Jen know I am coming home early? And will my earlier-than-expected still be too late to see the kids before bedtime?

Traffic was forgiving. The lights were not. Upon opening the door, the hum of waterfalls, the gentle sounds that lull our children to sleep. Then water fell from my eyes.

The house is quiet but for a tiny whimper from Mateo’s room, that briefest of sounds he releases upon the close of a day, resigning himself to sleep. I enter to find Matou giving him his Raffy. She walks out as if she knows I need these precious moments with him alone.

As it is, Harper was long gone for slumber. Matou tells me Harper actually approached her, signing “bath” and “sleep”.

I walk over to the crib to find Mateo lying on his back. He looks up at me. Smiles. We are separated only by a ray of light streaming from the hall through the cracked door. I rub his belly and stroke his hair. I hum our song, the one I remember my own mom and grandmother humming to me in comfort. Three generations and the result is the same – washed over by calm.

A warm boy under my fingertips as his eyes become heavy and he falls off to sleep.

Though they may be brief, these are memories.