I met V. when Rojo was three and Woohoo was five. V.’s daughter, B., was in Woohoo’s tiny afternoon kindergarten class, and soon we all became friends. V. got to know our extended family and we got to know hers. On days her work schedule precluded her from picking up B., V.’s sister did. At the time her sister was single and childless, and a practicing psychologist (that nugget just makes the story that much better).
My mother-in-law gave Rojo a dog costume to wear for Halloween that year, it was one piece, soft, had a hood with cute little ears and was more like wearing pajamas than anything else. Rojo adored it. Rojo wore it and wore it and wore it. When it was dirty and in the wash, it was a problem. He wanted to wear the dog costume every single day and twice on Sundays. The boy wore nothing else, and when it became too small we put his arms in it, only, and he trailed the rest behind him like a cape.
One day after kindergarten V. came up to me laughing, “My sister was asking me about you, she said, ‘Who is that lady that makes her son wear a dog costume every day?’” V. got it and knew that some day in the future, her sister would, too.
That same sister went on to have a son a couple of years later and then twin daughters. I’ve lost touch with her, but I’m certain, “typical” or not, her children have shown her why I “made him wear a dog costume every day.”
This was also the peak of Rojo’s Blue Twos phase. (For those unfamiliar with this L-O-N-G phase, Rojo was 100% obsessed with license plates and their expiration stickers. We were constantly on the look out/hunt for blue twos. It’s fair to say our entire lives revolved around them for years. The original title of my memoir about him was Blue Twos.)
Eventually Woohoo and B. evolved into different friendship circles, and I saw V. less and less. Then Woohoo and B. went off to different high schools and I hadn’t seen V. since, until last week when I was having lunch with, ironically, the recently retired kindergarten teacher, and who should walk in but V.? Turns out she was doing an errand in a nearby store to where we were having lunch, saw my car in the parking lot (just one of the many perks of having a distinctive AND old car), and went in every single shop and restaurant until she found me.
It was great catching up, and we learned both B. and Woohoo want to go to the same college. Caught up on her, her kids, her husband, her sister, her sister’s kids, her parents, all the rest. As she was getting ready to leave she said, “ You know, B. and I still look at license plates and shout out, ‘Blue Two!’ when we see one. How IS Rojo?”
I told her all about him, how great he’s doing, how happy, how I wrote a whole book about him and almost named it that, on and on. She was so genuinely happy to hear that. Happy, but not surprised. She saw his pure essence then and never had any doubt he’d be fine.
I guess it’s all a matter of defining “fine.” Cured? No. Typical? No. On track to graduate from high school and be independent in the world? No. Happy? Yes. Joyful, even, YES! Ego-less? Yes. Pure as the driven snow? Yes. Here to teach? Yes.
Yes, he’s fine.