I stop short with him, because there actually is no traffic, follow his gaze down the long, extra wide road that seems to travel all the way to the blinking promise of Las Vegas and say to him, "You're right. It would be perfect. It's too bad we left the camera at home!"
"We have your cellphone. Do you want me to take a photo for Friday?," he implores. I know, in my heart, he is really hoping that I am going to hand over my phone, start to disrobe and beg him to please take the photo. I also know that it will absolutely freak him out if I do that. That while his eyes get as big as saucers, he'll shake and not be able to take a photo at all and it will be a story he tells until he's as old as his father is now.
"As much as I'd love to do that, we'll be late for the film. We need to go get dinner! I'm starving, aren't you starving?! But I love you for offering and I love you for noticing that the light was perfect and I love you for knowing that bodies are just bodies and they all need to be celebrated!"
His face lights up and he says, "I can always take it another time for you, Nakedjen. It is just a body!"
Yes, it is, Little Salty. Yes, it is.
This is my new life. I share it with this child, an eight year old boy, who is endlessly curious and always asking questions. He introduces me to all his friends as Nakedjen and he understands that I am naked on the Internet. He explains to his friends that I am a real naked fairy, that I make magic happen and that they probably shouldn't look for my blog on the Internet because it will get them in trouble.
He is most definitely on the precipice of being a tween and finds breasts, all breasts, fascinating. Mine, especially. Perhaps, especially, because they are mine. It is hard to know, honestly. I mean this sincerely because I haven't ever been in a very real loving relationship with a man who is also the father of an eight year old boy before and this is all very new territory for me.
The role of mother was never supposed to appear on my life list.
I never wrote it there.
I am not at all certain, truthfully, that I might have created Nakedjen in the way that it exists here if I knew then that I would one day be the sometimes *mother* of a wildly curious eight year old boy. The truth is, though, that arriving in this place, where I find myself sharing all of my life with him, and with his father, has not made me feel that I need to edit or erase anything already that exists here. My only real worry, if there is any worry at all, is that kids can be cruel and that his friends at school will also find this website and may tease him that his father's partner actually really is NAKED on the internet.
Which brings us back to all the conversations at our home.
I am, as we all know, Nakedjen.
Bodies are celebrated. We discuss them. A lot.
I'm not sitting around naked at the house, but it isn't a large house and I'm not worrying about if the boys *see* me naked, either. I'm doing my best to encourage a healthy attitude around here. The same one that I encourage here on my blog. We all have these incredible, beautiful, lovely bodies that are gifts and need to be celebrated. Mine has different parts than the boys, but there's no shame in loving all our bodies. Little Salty is curious and it is far better to help him sort out his curiousity than to make him feel confused or angry or ashamed about it.
We're walking out of the theatre after seeing a Sundance film screening of THE CRASH REEL and Little Salty takes my hand. "Nakedjen, how many times have you crashed your head?"
"Six times, but three of them were truly traumatic."
"Why didn't you wear a helmet after the first one?"
"No one really told me I needed to wear a helmet, Little Salty. And you know, I like to live my life a bit dangerously."
He squeezes my hand tightly and looks up into my face with his big blue eyes. "I'm never going to let you not wear a helmet. You have to. For me and for my dad. You have to live to be 136. You have to always be here."
Mother wasn't on my life list.
Now it is.
I do always have to be here.
With his small hand entwined in mine and my professor's heart wrapped all the way around us both.