"Hey buddy, can I have a hug?"
He wrapped his arms around my neck, and his shoulder dug into my throat a little. He does that a lot--it's uncomfortable, but I like that he hugs me tightly.
I looked down at him, and for the millionth time I'm struck by what a beautiful child my son is. "You're a handsome boy, you know that?"
"Yeah," he said, "I know that."
I remember being a child and having my parents or their friends tell me that I was good-looking. I think I must have had the same casual confidence about my appearance when I was his age, but, for the life of me, I can't remember it.
When I was eleven a bully told me that I was ugly, and that's how I've seen myself ever since.
It's odd: I can't even find it in me to be angry about it anymore. I mean, what eleven-year-old has the perspective to see how devastating he can be to someone else's self-image, or how long-lasting the effects can be? I can't believe that any of them knew what they were doing.
And I have a good life. I have a wonderful family who I love and who love me. I'm successful at my job. I have a nice home filled with nice things, and I have the wherewithal to fill my spare time obsessing about things like single-malt Scotch, or visual art, or finding out which kinds of oolong teas suit my preferences the best. That I never feel sexy is a fairly minor inconvenience, all things considered.
But still, it's not something that anybody should have to go through. And when I chuckle at the conceit in my four-year-old son's voice when he says he knows he's handsome, I also can't help but think: he really is a beautiful boy, and it would break my heart if some day he couldn't believe it when someone told him so.
It's silly, I suppose, to worry about something that probably won't happen, but that's parenthood for you.
Earl Grey and Cream
I can't decide whether this new idea I have is interesting or pretentious. I'm interested in looking at the "digital-ness" of digital photo processes. This particular approach, though, may be a little obvious or trite. Though I suppose that even if it is, there's no real reason not to give it a shot.
Her hair, sun-kissed--sometimes me-kissed--brown and blonde, with glints of gold in the setting sun. When I lean in to kiss the top of her head, she smells nice--or is it that nice smells like her? She frets about graying now and then, but to my eyes she's perfect, more so today than at sixteen, when we were young together. Some day we'll be old together, but together still, and when the sun sets from time to time it'll kiss her hair again, and so will I.