I sing songs to my daughter as part of her nighttime ritual.
My wife does it too.
She sings show tunes.
I sing rock ballads and alternative – Aerosmith, Poison, Radiohead.
I don’t get the lyrics right but she doesn’t seem to mind. The music quiets her down more than anything else, more than books, more than baths.
Sometimes she sings the chorus with me but, usually, she just lays still, eyes wide open with 4-year-old thoughts, fresh ponderings to figure out the important things in life:
Which stuffed animal do I hold?
Why can’t I let the pigeon ride the bus?
Will I have raspberries in my cereal tomorrow?
I’ve thought about playing the actual songs by the real artists but decided against it. I wanna delay that moment. To be honest, I’m hoping I’m not there for it. I think it will be better that way.
My daughter, in her future bedroom, surrounded by friends, someone puts on a retro track from the ’90s and her body tingles. She knows the song but she’s never heard it before, she can’t quite place it, and then it hits her and she says it out loud before thinking about what everyone else will think:
My dad used to sing this to me.
And all her friends say “Awwwwww” at the same time. And, maybe, sometime after the end of the track and the teenage thoughts that inevitably follow, after her friends dissipate into their own worlds and the silence settles back into her room, maybe she’ll come to me and tell me about that moment.
And, amidst all the change and uncertainty in her life and mine – the life of a teenager and a middle-aged man – maybe we can defy the odds and hold onto the same memory at the exact same time.