Hugging my children is always bliss. There’s just nothing like it in the whole world. These days I savor the moments even more as my teenager is not so keen on lingering in a hug anymore. I am not one to impose my needs on my kids, so of course I respect his space.
I am lucky that my younger one seems to love it as much as I do, so I’m still getting lots of long, warm cuddles. We have our best conversations before he falls asleep. A few nights ago he asked me what his first word was and I was horrified I didn’t remember. I know it’s probably written in his baby book, which I have carefully stored in an archival quality box with his name on it. Still, I couldn’t get over the fact that I couldn’t remember. What good is that box if I don’t have it in my memory?
I felt as though I had failed him. How could I not know the answer to a question so poignantly asked?
Later, in my own bed, I told myself to lighten up. Mothers are so hard on themselves! I do everything for my children. I make sure they have what they need when they need it. I don’t like to put them in situations that might make them feel uncertain or insecure. I keep a good home and try my best to create balance in their lives. I am present–there to wake them and there to put them to bed. So why do I immediately tumble into self-flagellation mode?
I think the more conscious we are of how words, thoughts and experiences shape our children, the more likely we are to fall into this pattern, so we have to constantly remind ourselves that we’re doing a good job. I look at my boys and see how simple, kind, funny and loving they are. I am blessed each day with the warmth of their smiles and hugs. I can’t believe how wonderful it is to be enfolded in a warm, just waking hug, and to be held there because meeting me again after a long night’s sleep is such a comfort. When I think about these things I know that a moment of forgetfulness is just that.
So, I forget, but only in that most physical part of my brain. I know in my heart and soul that everything uttered is stored and felt for lifetimes.