Being involved meant involving myself with everyone, from the little old lady who (annoyingly) always wanted to know where his mother was to the counterman at the Greek diner who, without being asked, whisked pancakes and sausage his way — and extra napkins. It was through the community that I learned the etiquette of making play dates, the hours the library was open, the best museums to visit. Watching children older than Rory, I began to anticipate how I would deal with situations that might arise — from his breaking another child’s toy to trying to jump off the slide like Batman. Watching Rory from afar, I realized one day that I could gauge from his body language whether he needed assistance or just someone to admire his latest feat of ingenuity.
It was then that I knew I’d passed some sort of test. I trusted myself! You’ve come a long way, baby, I thought. Somebody really ought to buy you a mockingbird.