It’s just a letter.…

But to me this ‘k’ is much more …

I know my son is growing up (he’s 10 now), and I know that I’m not the centre of his world anymore. I’m used to seeing the changes that occur on an almost daily basis.

But unexpectedly out of the blue, one recent event took me by surprise.

On his first “all I want for Christmas is…” mobile phone, I saw part of a text message conversation between him and one of his friends. His reply to his friend’s question was just…… ‘k’.


This private conversation, from which I was excluded, had its own language, its own culture and its own social circle…

It feels like such a silly and unimportant thing, but the letter disrupted my daily activities and I could think of little else for the rest of the day. That one letter had brought me to a particular and long-denied realisation – there was a part of my son’s world that no longer included me.

And with this realisation also came yet another unanticipated unwelcome period of sadness. I have been documenting the changing relationship between my son and myself for many years, acknowledging the weakening bond and my feelings of loss and separation.

I kept telling myself, ‘it’s just a k….’

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what it meant.

I am pragmatic – I know I’ll move on and I’ll know to expect more moments like this, which will also arrive without warning.

And, in the meantime, I will enjoy receiving funny picture messages, and the constant stream of random and incomprehensible combinations of letters and words, and will take pleasure in what remains of his childhood innocence.


About Tracey Kershaw

I am an artist and mother. Originally from Wales, I now live and practice in Nottingham, where I studied Fine Art, and am co-founder of the art collective Socket.

My work explores themes of motherhood, ageing and notions of change. I am interested in the familiarity of the everyday, which …Read more


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