Lover.

The Who has a couple of friends that he just adores. And I know he adores them not by the way his face lights up when I tell him we’re going to see those friends, but rather by the intimate ways in which he interacts with them when they’re together. He and these pals greet one another with embraces, wherever they first meet: on the front steps of one of their houses, on a sidewalk, at the playground. They high-five. They wrestle. They sit quietly engrossed in imaginative play for long stretches of time. They hug one another goodbye (and sometimes even kiss, if there is kissing-goodbye going on around them.)

They share their ice cream with one another.

I expect that at some point this will change. The Who and his comrades will probably move from open, unbridled affection for one another to arm chucks, fist bumps, and quick “bro” hugs. As a girl, and now a woman, this is not a stage I really moved through. It has always been acceptable and encouraged in our culture for girls and women to hug and kiss and, frankly, it’s kind of a bummer that boys and men who do this are often shamed and mocked.

Maybe he will grow up to be a hugging kind of man. And maybe it won’t be so socially weird by the time he does. Or maybe (if all goes according to plan) he won’t give a crap if what he wants to do and how he wants to behave is socially weird or not. But right now, my boy’s a lover. And I just find it so goddamn sweet.

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