‘I love you, Mummy,’ says Ollie as he wraps his arms around me and squeezes tight. It makes me happy, of course it does, but it is also bittersweet. Ollie turned six at the beginning of the month. He is growing faster than I can believe and I know that sure enough, he will soon follow on his older brothers who are ‘too cool’ for any more I love you, Mummys.
Harry is 12, Eddie is 10 and Sid is nine. Sid will still exchange hugs just sometimes. Not often and mostly with an underlying embarrassment. Eddie has gone through a phase of not hugging under any circumstances at all. Uh-uh, no way. He would run if he thought there was affection looming but recently, he is running less quickly – even though he can. He doesn’t swerve to avoid as he once did and he doesn’t struggle to get away if caught. He’ll let me give him a hug but he won’t hug back. Still, that’s further than the last couple of years where hugging mum was simply not cool. Uh-uh. No way. So I class that as improvement.
Harry won’t hug. He just won’t.
‘No, it’s okay,’ he says.
It is a sad thing when your children won’t hug back but I know it is a phase. I still remember Ben telling me that he was too big to hold my hand any more.
He was five.
He’ll hug me now though.
He will even say, ‘I love you, Mummy.’ Just like Ollie does.
He is 22.
So I know that it’s all just a phase.
I hug Tim just as I remember hugging Harry, Eddie, Sid, Ben and all my children. When they are small you can’t imagine doing anything else. You just want to hug them and hold them tight and there are moments that you never want to end.
But then they do.
Why does the hugging stop?
As if writing about that wasn’t enough to make me emotional, this video by Fairy Non Bio really sent me over the edge. Following a father and son from birth to adulthood its message is clear:
If you can watch it without shedding a tear you’ve done better than I!