Thursday, March 4, 2010
Lost hugs, found kisses
It's 7 a.m. and I'm lying in bed, sleepy-eyed. Max is snuggled into the crook of my right arm, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's become our little morning ritual, just the two of us. Dave is showering and Sabrina is downstairs watching Spongebob Squarepants because she thinks she is far too mature for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
I practically have to bribe Sabrina to get kisses, but Max is such a snugglebunny. Whenever I walk in the door after being away he lets out a squeal, runs to me and presses himself against my knees, wanting me to pick him up. Once I do, he nestles his head on my shoulder, opens his mouth and plants it onto my neck. Then he breathes in and out deeply, like he is trying to inhale me. It is the most heavenly feeling.
Max took a long time to learn how to kiss. He still can't do it with pursed lips; all of his kisses are of the open-mouthed, slurpy variety. They leave a big wet mark on my cheek that I don't always bother to wipe off.
As kissy as Max can be, he has never hugged me. It's just not in his repertoire of movements; the cerebral palsy keeps his arms close to his sides most of the time. Yet I don't feel like I'm missing out, or that I've been deprived of some primal parental right. I didn't even realize until recently that Max had never hugged me. Then one night, when I leaned down to kiss him good night, he flung one arm over my back and it occurred to me that was as close of a hug as I'd ever had from him.
If you'd told me when Max was a baby that he would not be able to hug me, I would have been despondent. A child? Who cannot hug his mother? But the lack of hugs are yet another thing I've never had regrets about because there has been so much else to take their place.
Our children love us up any way they can, whether or not they're able to wrap their arms around us or say the words "I love you."
I may not get hugs, but I do have squeals of joy when I walk in the door.
I have that light in Max's eyes when he sees me.
I have lots and lots and lots of slurpy kisses.
I have a little boy who loves to snuggle with me.
And that is all I need.