They still ask me to cuddle. The four year old not so surprising at his age, but the 11 year old…. And it’s not always. If Daddy is home he will pick Daddy over me. And she sometimes is not in the mood like she used to be, as she was every night for the first ten years of her life.
Such different cuddles.
He wants me to tickle his face and tickle is belly and tickle back until my hand cramps, with his eyes closed he whispers “keep tickling.” I trace his beautifully smooth skin. His silky forehead, tiny temple, the divots where his brilliantly blue eyes lay closed, his beyond perfect nose, those cheeks, round and plump and fresh like warm bread. Over and over again I trace his face thinking if my Mother-in-Law were here she would want to do that exact thing because he so resembles her boys. I feel their presence in that moment. I stare at him by the light from the hall and marvel in his perfectness. His ability to make me feel this deep.
He asks to tell secrets. “I love you” I say quietly, he says “I knew it!” “I love you” he says and I giggle like a school girl for effect. He mouths “kiss me!” and I giggle again and he laughs out loud at the power of his words. He tells me I am his beautiful flower after I tell him he makes me happy. He tells me I am awesome.
She, she wants to tell me about her big skiing accomplishment tonight, she finally tackled the last of the summit runs without a fall! She can ski them all now! I am so proud of you I tell her, and she smiles with confidence. She tells me that her Daddy said the A-word and the H-word. Asks me to tell her stories about her aunt who often has hilarious mishaps. She wants me to recall the cute video she showed me today and reminds me that she has early band practice. We give each other our nightly kiss: right side, left side, lips, eskimo kiss, lips. We tease and joke and say good night.
I never want them to stop, but I know they will. I need to appreciate the moments now. I can’t always, but when I am able to, oh the bliss. The feeling of appreciation for these healthy, happy human beings that I brought into this world fully and completely present with my very own power. The love they are able to give. The love I am able to give. To be able to be open and feel well enough to receive this raw, genuine love of children to their Mother. The ability to bask in the beauty of them without judgement. Just being in the moment. A gift. A moment of true love. I am so grateful.