For the past ten or so years I (older, wiser you) have longed to have some magic experience where I go back in time to when the children were small and get to mother them for just one day. Because, while I really, really like the adults they are all turning out to be, I miss my babies/toddlers.
I miss the snuggling and tickle fights and doing their hair and picking out their clothes and the little chirps of “Mama!” that were the soundtrack of those days.
Currently I am permitted to hug or kiss half of the children without getting written consent. By 3rd grade Johnathan declared (half-joking) that it burned when I kissed his cheek. He did, however, frequently boop my nose, which I was slow to realize was his way of making contact. When I dropped Jenny Girl off for her first day at kindergarten she very firmly laid down the new ground rules, “No hugging or kissing. You can only smell my hair.”
Something changes when the children become ill.
Suddenly I’m Mommy and they really need me again (as a personal presence – not the maid, chauffeur, loan officer kind of need). I have to admit that I enjoy it way more than I should – not the part where they’re not feeling all that great – but I sure do like being Mommy again.
This week I’ve had a real treat: Jenny Girl got all of her wisdom teeth out. I know, this sounds like I’m sadistic, but, please know (I realize I’m repeating myself, but moms are naturally defensive) that I do not enjoy seeing my kids in misery. When she had to change her surgical gauze for the first time the pain of it brought her to brave tears which just about broke my heart for her, but she let me stroke her puffy face. When she threw up, she let me hold her hair.
She let me kiss her forehead and even seemed comforted by it.
It was like I got my wish and was back with little Jenny Girl again, way before I had to ask permission to get a hug. OK, yes, it was her boyfriend that she really wanted comfort from, so I was sort of the second string to my own child and sure, she was so looped up on pain meds that she doesn’t remember any of it, but I could have cared less about the reasons why. For a week I was given that gift of going back in time and got to snuggle one of my babies again.
Therefore I beg you, give hugs and kisses, snuggle those toddlers and breathe in deep their Johnson’s Baby Shampoo scented heads because the day will come when they will have to undergo outpatient surgery for you to get that chance to snuggle them again.
Older, Wiser You