Dear YaYa Sister,

Yesterday you asked one of the sweetest questions I’ve ever heard.

“Where did we start?” you asked, and then furrowed your brow and thought a little.

“Where were you when Kid A came out?”

Where did we start? Such a rich question. We talked for a long time about how Kid A was born in a little town far north in California, and how you were born when we lived with lots of people in San Francisco, and how Leafy was born when we lived at the Land.

You love to talk about this.

I’m writing this letter just because that question struck my heart, and because of what shone through you today.

I had to go on some lame bank errand which involved going from bank to bank searching for the right services. You wanted to come with me, even though it was raining. It’s not raining very MUCH, you told me, putting your raincoat on. Even the fact that we were going by scooter did not deter you.

And I think I’ve never been happier. Riding along in the rain with my girl child on the scooter, both of us getting soaked, you turned to look up at me and grinned, not at all perturbed by the rain. You kept me company in each bank, you were polite to all the people who wanted to talk to you, and you kissed me a few hundred times, just to remind me that you were there, that you love me.

I see a lot of me in you. You are always searching for beauty, and when you point small things out to me I see the way that my eyes are often scanning the hillsides, looking for those elusive wildflowers. You find beauty everywhere. You love the gaudy tinselly things hanging from the ceilings of most of the places of business here. “OH, I LOVE that pink one,” you sigh, eyes locked on a burped up metallic explosion dangling from a ceiling tile.

When we walk outside, stepping around a few strewn pieces of trash and over some steel rebar lying in the road, you look up. “Flowers!” you call, exhaling happily and pointing at some wilting garland looped over the doorway.

Later, when we’re home, you collapse in tears over the prospect of walking on the floor in the bathroom, damp from someone taking a shower. (The bathrooms here have an open space for showers, no separation.)

I think of you happily looking up at me, your face covered in rain, and think that I will never fully understand you. I don’t think I have to. I’m so glad to be riding around with a small girl on my bike, I’m bursting with pride over you. I’m glad that this little clan started somewhere, in a small town in the far North of California, not so long ago.

I love you.

Your Mama.