It’s not entirely true that our love for Kina is unrequited, but it is requited on her own terms and at a time of her choosing. The moments when she does declare her love for us are extra precious to us—a special treat—and usually fall either just before or just after she sleeps, when she is most unaware. The rest of the day, loving her is like living with a tiny Han Solo.
I don’t know that it matters if she loves me or not, actually. That’s the point of unconditional love, which is either comforting or terrifying as we contemplate the years ahead and simultaneously look back on how carelessly we navigated our own teenage years with our parents. A few hours ago, Kina tried to tell me how she felt about me by repeatedly and pointedly slamming my bedroom door. Once it became apparent that I wasn’t going to respond, she decided instead to hit me, and then to start inconsolably weeping, and so I found myself holding and comforting this small person who—by all outward appearances—was really angry at me, and who was definitely being a real dick about it, actually. I love her so much that the conflict didn’t even enter into my mind. I can’t know what it’s like to be in her head at this age; nature makes us all forget that (probably for good reasons), and so I can only assume that Kina’s love is complex, is messy, is big enough to include five minute periods where she is both slapping me in the face and laying her head on my shoulder. She’s brave to live in all of that, and all I really care about is that she knows that I love her—which, our readers will note, she does.
I have a confession to make: I almost forgot to draw The Sunday Kina today. Kina and I were half an hour away from a play date with Sloanie when I finally remembered. This is partly because Laurea left early this morning—without the prompt of watching her cut paper for the Parade cover, a Sunday morning just blends together into one long whining-for-special-treats noise. But draw it I did, and alongside me, our intrepid sticker collagist. She asked me politely to help her get the polar bear off the sticker backing, but the placement and selection here is all Kina. I take credit for the increasingly jaunty logo at the top. Sunday funday.