It brought back memories of the time in kindergarten when Big Tina chased me down like a lion pursuing a sick wildebeest, planting a couple of smackers on my cheeks while I secretly wished that little Tina, the redhead, had done the chasing and the kissing.
We discussed ways to dissuade this behavior. B.'s first instinct was that his fists might be helpful, but I pushed for a softer-line solution. "She's your friend, B.," I said, "and she's hugging you because she likes you. You don't want to hurt or scare one of your friends. It's OK to say that you don't want her to touch you, but if you freak out she'll just want to do it more."
He considered this, and replied. "The school regulations" -- love that word choice, "regulations" -- "say that kissing is never OK, and that hugging is only OK if the person asks first. I didn't ask first!"
Later, at soccer practice, the little girl chanted "B.'s here! B.'s here!" when we showed up and, in fact, snuck in a little kiss in line. B. didn't look too upset.
On the way home, we talked about the cancer a little bit.
"Dad, I'm sort of glad that you're sick because we get to spend more time together. I mean, I'm not glad, but..." We went on from there, him breaking my heart with every word. On the one hand, he loves computer games and war books and thinks it might be a good idea to whack a cute little girl for hugging him. On the other, his empathy and sympathy for other people is widening and deepening almost every month. It's such a pleasure to watch his moral acuity grow.
He then told me that he hoped that I could just stay the same, so that we could stay together with the family. But then he paused, and reconsidered. "But I don't want you to hurt too much." I'm not hurting too much, I told him. I also want me to just stay the same if I can't get better. It occurred to me later that I could have said something about the deforolimus -- that I was, in fact, going to try to start taking a drug that was intended to help me "stay the same." But the placebo muddies those waters, and I'm always cautious -- perhaps overcautious -- about offering false hope.