Dear Kid A

I remember once, when you were younger, that someone told me about a certain age that boys enter into. I shuddered, looking at you, curled in my lap, to think of this fabled time; the time when you would no longer want to hug me or snuggle with me or hold my hand. I couldn't imagine it. I thought it would be horrid, like eel pie or a lamprey shake.

That time is here, and what I want to say is... it's not so bad.

In fact, it seems totally natural to me, you with your bony angles, your longer than possible legs, your quick smile and sense of humor. You've moved away from me a little, and right you should.

It is as natural as the fact that every day I kiss Solo repeatedly, unnecessarily, and obsessively, all over his little, perfect, infant-acne'd face. It's as natural as the rare kisses I get from Leafy, along with the fact that when I pick him up, his little arms squeeze me tight around my neck and his little legs go around my waist, like he is a monkey boy and doesn't want to let go. It's as natural as YaYa with her kisses and hugs and cooed, "Oh, you are so Beee-you-ti-ful, Mama!" All of these things are here, and now, and none will stay the same. Naturally.

I still want to hug you, still reach for you when you do something great, until I remember and snatch my arms back to my sides, then give you a high five instead. Sometimes I just use words to tell you. Every so often, if you've fallen, you'll come to me for a quick kiss- or a hug that lasts about four seconds.

And then there is the way you idolize your dad, because he is just the COOLEST THING EVER. Cooler than cool, really. I'm glad that you recognize this about him. I do too. He rocks. It was pretty funny, the other day when we were reading that book, and there was a little girl who lost her mom when her mom was giving birth to her brothers. I looked up and saw your face, as I was reading. "That's pretty sad, isn't it," I said, ready to talk about it if you needed to.

"Yeah," you said. "I would be so so sad if DADDY or JED died." Jed is your best friend, far across the world now, but still ranking higher than me. I laugh without sting because I know you don't really mean it, and because I also know that this too, is natural.

This is because we have done our bonding, the way that Solo and I are now bonding, almost the same person, but slowly edging apart. And I know that you are secure enough in me that I almost become a reflex to you. You never have to wonder if I'm there. This is beautiful.

I love to see you and your dad together, see how you clench your hands a little when you talk to him, because it is so very important to you, what he says in response. Will he laugh? Was that funny? You think it was funny, but you're not quite sure. I love it because you have a dad who will laugh, who will show you card tricks, who will praise you when you get things right, and even when you try.

And then you come and lean on me and we read together, and I am happy with this little bit of unconscious affection. I don't ruin it by trying to cuddle, because I know you'll edge away, and so we sit, just leaning, just reading. Just laughing at what we read. You turn a brilliant smile up at me and I smile back.

I'm always here, my Kid A.

But I know that you know that.



Photos are Chinua's