We spent the afternoon of our last day in L.A. with Kelly, meeting up at a park with an interactive water feature where the kids could cool off and be entertained. We ended our time by eating dinner together on the grass (the kids and Kelly chose McDonald's; Todd and I ate the fast food of the gods).
Puppy was comfortable around Kelly, despite not having seen her or really heard from her for over a year. He smiled and went right up to hug her legs when we first arrived. Earlier in the day he had come up with some questions he wanted to ask his first dad ("What was your favorite thing when you were four? What did you do for your fifth birthday?") and later in the afternoon he posed them to Kelly, too. He looked at pictures of his younger sister (Kelly's daughter) and declared them funny. Everyone says Puppy looks a lot like Ray--which he does--but Puppy and sister-baby really look alike.
Kelly spent a whole lot of time tapping on her phone, often a ways away from where Puppy was playing. I freely admit to some very minor meddling this time to encourage interaction. Just small things: Puppy would ask me to push him on the swings and I'd suggest that Kelly push him instead, for instance.
A few hours together every year or so is hardly the stuff of a close relationship between Puppy and his first mom. I have no illusions about that. We're hampered by living in different states, of course. But there are ways the connection could continue to grow between our trips down south, yet for the most part our attempts to communicate by email, phone, and post go unacknowledged. Talk of visits up our way doesn't materialize into actual plans. This is all Kelly seems to be able or willing to offer to Puppy right now. So we do what we can to maintain an atmosphere of openness and see what grows.