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A Mother’s Touch

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One of things I loved doing with Alex when he was little was snuggling. From the time he was newborn until he was about 7 or 8 we snuggled a lot. And every night I would go into his bedroom after he was asleep and give him a final good-night smooch. One thing I’ve discovered (yeah, like I’m the only one this has ever happened to) is that when the boy-baby-child gets older the whole snuggling thing ends. In fact, you are seriously not allowed to touch, even accidentally bump into, your teenage boy. Maybe every now and then you can “knuckle? him (meaning you make a fist and touch knuckles in a bond of solidarity over an important issue like agreeing he gets too much math homework) but beyond that any and all physical contact that hints of affection ceases. That baby boy who was never happy unless he was almost permanently bonded to some part of your body now responds with, •Don’t touch me,? when you sit a little too close on the sofa. So of course I touch him • like I poke him in the arm, or smack him on the leg, or wiggle my finger in front of his eyes saying, “I’m not touching you!? just to be a pain. Ha! It•s fun. But every now and then, when he's spooked about something, or needs to recharge, or the planets align in some pre-destined pattern, he’ll forget the “don’t touch me? stuff and actually snuggle. OK, •snuggle? meaning he•ll put his head on a pillow in my lap while watching TV and say something like, “Mom, you really need to lose some weight ‘cuz your stomach is squishy.? Yeah • I get that he’s gotta say that otherwise he’d be admitting that he really doesn’t mind “snuggling? at that moment in time as long as he makes it clear that he is not enjoying it and is only doing it because my stomach happens to be in the same spot on the sofa where his head wants to rest. But, hey. I•ll take what I can get. Even though he’s a big hot tamale, he’ll always be my baby, and I will always be there in case he wants to snuggle. And my stomach will only get squishier and be a softer place to land when he needs it. Oh, and I still sneak into his room after he falls asleep to smooch him good-night!

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