When my husband snuggles our babies up close on his lap, he squeezes them tight and says, “You’re still going to let me hold you like this when you are 25, right?” And we look at each other, laugh, imagine what that would look like – a 180 pound man snuggling on his father’s lap, and we believe it to be true. Why wouldn’t we? Why would our kids ever love us any less than they do now? I am pretty sure that given the opportunity, my kids would crawl back inside of me and bunk out in my womb. You know, if that was in any way possible. They want us and need us and love us so much despite any fault or mistake we might make. We are what they live for and visa versa. But there is always a but…
I posted this on my Facebook wall on April 29th and it has remained with me ever since:
It can’t be true. It simply cannot. You mean to tell me that I get pregnant, grow a baby inside me for 9 months, birth the baby, spend every waking moment doting, worrying, holding, kissing, feeding, cleaning, disciplining, teaching, nurturing and loving this baby only for his love for me to eventually run out? That is messed up. And like I said, I refuse to believe it. In fact, I know it is not true. While my kids might not want to curl up with me and snuggle the way we do now when they are 25, doesn’t mean they will love me any less. A young child shows affection to his parents is because he is establishing a sense of trust and security. Yes, it is also a symbol of love, but it’s also a safe haven to be wrapped in your mother’s arms. I know there is some philosophical theory to explain this – something I vaguely remember from Psych 101, but the point is, love doesn’t always look like the picture above.
Love is a macaroni necklace your child made for you in preschool.
Love is your child jumping up and down with excitement when you get picked to chaperone the 3rd grade class trip.
Love is your child’s head burrowed in your chest, hyperventilating with tears because he struck out… again…
Love is a secret they swore they’d never spill, but needed your advice.
Love is your child winning a championship game and then running to embrace you first….because your excitement and pride is really the only thing that matters to them.
Love is a phone call home from college because they wanted to know what you’re having for dinner… or maybe they just need to hear your voice.
Love is moving back home.
Love is having a glass of wine with your parents as an adult and thinking there is no place you’d rather be.
Love doesn’t always look like this…
It certainly is lovely, though. And I am certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts. But when the snuggle sesh’s start to dwindle, I know the love isn’t going with it. Hopefully it means I’ve done my job as parent and they need me a little less…… but hopefully just a little.