Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Last Cuddle

I've never been the most touchy-feely of people. I remember back in college I was dating a guy who asked me if he could hold me hand on a walk and I told him (and I think I really believed what I said) that I needed to have my hands free so I could move with proper momentum. And any kind of PDA's? Nope, not gonna happen. I just like when people keep their hands to themselves. Didn't we all learn that in kindergarten, anyway?

Fast forward to the birth of my child. God's sense of humor strikes again when I am given the child who could win the award for "clingiest human in the universe" his first two years of life.  For two years my child cried, whined, freaked out, pulled hair and basically clung on to whatever part of my body he could reach at any given moment rather than risk the scary world of independence. I had to utter sentences like "I just need you not to touch me for 30 seconds. Just 30 seconds, love, how about mom gets to stay sane with just ONE. LITTLE. BREAK?"

After we moved to North Carolina and my son miraculously began to understand that there were indeed perks to this whole independent thing, I started to understand what other moms would talk about when they would utter sentences like "I wonder what so and so is up to? I guess I should look for him." I'd never had to utter such a phrase before because, oh look, he was always attached to my leg. But he began to branch out, he began to climb on playgrounds (yes, I had been up to the very top of the chick-fil-a play spot in a vain effort to get my son to play without me, thinking that if I could just show him how wonderful it was up there, he'd go free. Didn't work. And it was NOT easy to get back down.)

Now he's turning 6 in just 2 weeks. He's in kindergarten for 6 hours a day. He's really a boy now. And ironically, the thought enters my mind every time I get the chance to cuddle up with him, "I wonder if this is the last cuddle?" All kids are different and I don't know when they are supposed to start detaching. I don't know when to expect the eye roll and the "Mom, not here, my friends can see you!" kinds of statements.  But something in my soul has started to panic a little. For someone who has never loved the cuddle to begin with, the thought of losing those cuddle privileges seems suddenly to be the saddest prospect in the world.

I've mentioned this to a few friends, some of whom have older kids and I have been reassured that there are 8-year-olds out there who still dig mom time. And just last week while we were at worship rehearsal at our church, the mom of one of the teenage guitarists showed up and he gave her a big hug and kiss right in front of God and everyone. Score one for hope.

So, I've decided to savor the cuddle. To treat each one like it could be my last, to enjoy the smell of his hair (because I'm pretty sure sniffing his head when he's 30 would be less than appropriate), to tickle him as much as I can, to drink in the giggles and the warmth and the sweetness. And to do my best not to dread when this phase ends because if there is one thing I've learned through 6 years of this whole parent thing it's that each new phase has amazing and wonderful surprises of its own and spending time wishing he'd stay a certain way is an exercise in futility and an affront to who God is making him to be as he grows up.

So, little man, bring on the cuddle. Let's enjoy it while it lasts and let's savor the ever-changing ride of this incredible journey of growing up.


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