I am now at the stage where I have children covering a range of ages from 9 months all the way up to 18 years. How is it possible that someone who only looks to be 25 can have an eighteen year old, I hear you ask?! Oh stop! You’re embarrassing me!
When Ben was around five years old I had my first taste of rejection. We were walking down the street and I reached my hands out to him and Stephanie. She took my hand in her pudgy little one straight away. Ben looked up to me and said firmly, “I’m too big to hold your hand”.
I was stunned. And upset.
My firstborn and at the time only son didn’t want to hold mummy’s hand any more. That was the day the hugs and kisses stopped too because, in his eyes, he was too big. The toddler smooches and climbing into my lap were no more. He was trying to be independent and grown up and that meant soppyness and affection of any type was out.
Perhaps because it was the first time I’d experienced that it is something that has always stuck in my mind. I now have another six boys and two more have now reached that stage of life with Sid quickly approaching it.
It’s the stage where hugs have given way to reluctantly moving a shoulder toward me while feet remain firmly as far away as possible… if I’m lucky. I no longer receive kisses although, at times I may be allowed to plant one on the top of their heads or on their cheeks – if I move fast enough and can catch them before they move away. If I do achieve it the offending pucker is quickly wiped off. Unless it’s Sid who, aware that I may get upset and not wanting to offend tries to assure me that he’s “just rubbing it in”. And if I ever say those cringeworthy words, “I love you” they are met with a roll of the eyes and an awkward, embarrased, gap toothed grin and a quick getaway lest I try showing any other of the previous mentioned forms of affection.
I resign myself to the fact that this is life and the middle boys are going to assert their independence in this way. In the meantime I reassure myself that Paddy has not quite yet reached that point yet and is still quite willing to climb up for a hug or a kiss, or that Oliver, almost two years younger than him, is happily at the “I yuy you ho much, mummy” stage, or that I have all the smooches and hugs yet to come with Joseph before he considers himself too big.
So it is always a welcome and heart-melting moment when I see things like this sneaked onto my desk….