Every morning when I wake up, I read a daily selection from “The Best of Life’s Little Instruction Calendar” which sits on my nightstand. A message I read last week really affected me. This is what it said:
“Hold your child’s hand every chance you get. The time will come all too soon when he or she won’t let you.
How sadly true is that?
I’m mom to 8-year-old and 3-year-old boys, and already I’m finding this to be the case. I think I’ve been in denial. But this little two-sentence blurb stirred something in me. I’ve seen it happening; I didn’t want to admit it.
My older son will barely give me a hug before he runs out the door to catch the school bus.
Instead he responds with, “MO-om! I don’t need a hug,” followed by a low grumble and stiffened shoulders as I force one on him. Then he pulls away and tries to act cool in front of his bus mates. I stand there with a hole in my heart, wondering when it all changed. He’s only 8.
It seems so long ago that he would cuddle willingly and let me be “mommy,” but I know that’s how it once was. I know he still loves me as much as he did.
He needs to be a tough guy now. Hugs aren’t allowed anymore. I guess that’s the next phase of "boyhood," but it doesn’t make it any easier for me.
I’m still blessed to have a little guy who I like to call my “love bug,” because he is so openly affectionate, but how long will it last? I wonder if he also will turn into a tough guy like his big brother and nix my kisses. I’m hoping not.
I always tell him, “You’d better stop growing up so fast!”
He responds with, “But mom, I’m already 42 pounds!” as he jumps on me and squeezes tight. I love that sweet innocence.
Reading that calendar message was like a punch in the gut. It was also a wake-up call…one that I needed right now.
How much longer do I have to cherish these treasured moments of handholding, bear hugs and butterfly kisses with my boys? The fact is things will change. Boys will be boys.
To me, being a mom is hugging, snuggling and caring. It’s holding them tight when they fall. It’s singing softly into their ears as they drift to sleep at night. It’s assuring them that I will love them forever, no matter what.
As they grow up into these little men, I’m afraid I will lose my ability to connect with them if I can’t show my physical affection. I suppose I will learn new ways to stay close to them, but for now, I’ll cherish every single special moment I can get.
I’m going to slow down and let the dishes sit in the sink, so I can pick flowers with my boys on a sunny afternoon. I’m going to push my work off an hour, so I can read their favorite books. I’m going to say no to things that aren’t necessary, so that I can have a few more hours just for them.
Our time is too short. We must cherish every second.