Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hugs and Kisses and Cuddles

Forgive me, dear faithful and few readers (by whom I mean my wonderful sister Steffi who has been pestering me for months to write a new entry ;)) for neglecting this blog for going on 4 months now. I guess life got away from me a little bit. It has definitely been a busy few months!

I have a lot of thoughts on my mind these days and I will hopefully be back to talk about more of them. But tonight, I'm thinking about hugs.

Zeke is a born cuddle bunny. As a newborn fresh from the womb, he would eagerly drink up every drop of affection and cuddles he was offered like a thirsty sponge. He had a way of laying his head on your chest or shoulder and just melting into you, conforming his body to your curves. Everyone who held him commented on how snuggly he was. I couldn't get enough of it; we just about grew roots into the couch as we spent days on end with him curled up on my chest, I listening to his tiny squeaks and grunts and kissing his peach fuzzy head again and again, breathing in his sweet, fresh scent.

For a few months, it was as if he forgot a little bit how to cuddle while awake. He was mobile, and so very curious, that even though he wanted to be in arms, all he wanted to do from his perch was peer out and reach for the world around him. Yet still, the only place he would sleep was on my chest or nestled into my side, so I spent hours worth of nap times every day growing more roots into the couch, rubbing my lips on his soft hair and feeling my hand rise on his back with each breath. I half wished he would sleep on his own so I could get a few things done or even just have two hands for typing, and yet half rejoiced that he wouldn't because it meant I had that much more time to feel his heart beating next to mine and his little body completely relaxed and surrendered with my breast as his pillow.

And I am loving, completely loving the place we are in now. At just shy of a year, he now understands what a "hug" is. He sleeps alone for naps, and even prefers to sleep in his own bed next to ours at night now, though he does occasionally crawl over for a cuddle in the early morning. He is a busy busy almost-toddler, hungrily testing and exploring his world. But, between explorings, he comes to me and wants to check in. He reaches his little arms out for mine, then wraps them tightly around my neck as he lays his cheek against me and sighs. He gives pats on my shoulder or back when he hugs me. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I also get a sloppy, open-mouthed kiss, usually on my nose, or maybe my chin. And tonight, oh, tonight, after we laid down in the dark and nursed before bedtime, he crawled onto my chest, nuzzled his head into my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me, and just rested there for a bit- then sighed happily saying, "Ahh, mum-mum! Ayaya!" and cuddled some more. I thought surely this time my heart would burst from holding too much love. What did I do right to receive the sweetest boy on earth as my son?

I think, what I love most about this stage, is that it's so clear for the first time that he is choosing to show love and affection. He hugs and kisses and cuddles because he wants to. There is unmistakeable intention behind his demonstrations of attachment. Oh, how good it feels to have poured my heart and soul and all my energy into loving this little person, and now begin to receive back his intense affection in such a clear way. To be chosen, to be wanted, to be enjoyed simply for my presence.

What a precious, irreplaceable gift. I hope to never forget that as he approaches his first birthday, my son has given me the most treasured and precious gift in the world, one that no amount of worldly resources could purchase. His love and desire for his mama.

The more I parent, the more I understand and am laid bare by the heart of my Father in Heaven...