I sat on the floor of my girlfriend’s apartment Sunday, going through my materials for class and preparing for finals, when her son returned from the park, where he had spent the last couple of hours playing with his friend while his friend’s mother watched over them both.

Not immediately, but after they had all stood in the apartment for a few moments, he ran up behind me, threw his arms around my neck and yelled out my name with excitement.

It absolutely stunned me.

I would say he and I have gotten to know each other pretty well since I last wrote about him. In the three and a half months since we have actually started spending any time together, I feel like we have gone through an interesting set of stages, starting out with the excitement of a new person with whom he can do new things, the realization that this new person actually started coming around because of his mother, a stage of plain acceptance and normalcy, and finally a sense that the novelty of this new person had worn off.

We have spent some quality time alone without mom around, and I greatly enjoy volunteering to keep an eye on him so my girlfriend can relax, take care of things she needs to do, go to bachelorette parties or any other things under the sun. We play a fair amount, but I have also tried to keep a well defined line so that he does not see me as just a fun playmate but also something of a fair source of authority as well. I don’t know how well I have managed that so far, but I would say better than I might have expected I could do a year ago.

Ultimately, I know he likes me and likes having me around, but I didn’t really think it might mean more to him than that.

But the thing about what happened Sunday was not that it happened, rather that it felt so normal. He seemed to act like running up and hugging me while his best friend stood right next to me and his mother’s closest friend watched everything (I would love to know what thoughts passed through her head at that moment) was the most normal action in the world. And at the time, it felt normal to me too.

And that’s why I feel so, hmm, aflutter (?) at it.

Certainly I have expended a lot of energy thinking about the implications of all this, not only those in my own mind but those in the minds of my girlfriend and her son as well. And while I really don’t feel ready to address those thoughts in this forum just yet, I am encouraged, proud, shocked, a little scared and a lot excited all at once.

And I am also really excited to have a distraction for my head as finals approach and my level of goofiness increases exponentially.