When my girls were babies and soft and snuggly and smelled good all the time, I never would have needed Day 15 Give Them Kisses Lots Of Kisses to remind me to do just that. Because they were so fresh out of my belly, still seemingly tethered by that unseen umbilical cord, that kissing their little cheeks, and mouths and toes and fingers was ingrained in me, second nature…an innate trait I couldn’t help but have.
But what started to scare me, that’s right, scare me, was that as I watched my older daughter growing up, becoming more independent, I noticed a shift in myself that was so slight it was almost unrecognizable…until it was.
I realized that as I was cuddling her younger sister and giving kisses at every turn, there seemed to be an invisible barrier between Hannah and me.
There is something about being able to hold your child, to carry them, that seems to create and foster a closeness. So while I was holding Hazel to get into the store, I was holding Hannah’s hand. When we headed up the stairs at night, Hazel was hanging on for dear life on my hip while Hannah was leading the way.
That proximity to my face seemed to create the perfect environment for a kiss on the mouth, a snuggle, an extra hug.
And I was finding myself laying in bed at night next to Hannah asking myself…Have I even kissed her today? I hugged her I know, yes I’m certain I at least hugged her. But did I wrap my arms around her and give her a kiss and tell her how much I love her today just for being her?
So I would grab her and hug her and kiss her as she wandered off into dreamland. But I was angry with myself…angry at letting her fledgling independence create this barrier…and angry because I knew it was more me that had let that happen than her. Because she was only 5 and she’s still a little girl. And she still needs her mom more than anyone and needs to know that I love her and get those kisses throughout the day.
So I told myself I wasn’t going to let this happen. Because if anyone could change it, I could. And I was going to start right away.
And in the beginning it almost felt forced, because I was so aware of the change and because I was so determined to not let it go further.
First thing in the morning, I began to wake her and give her a kiss. Even when we were rushed, there’s always 2 seconds for a kiss.
As she climbed out of my car for school, I would grab her and hug her and kiss her. And tell her I loved her and to have a great day.
When we were getting ready to eat dinner, I would kiss her before we prayed. I would kiss her as we cleaned up.
I would kiss her as she got ready for bed. I would kiss her as she brushed her hair.
And now, when I lay in bed next to her at night, I kiss her one more time…the long hug and smothering kiss she should have been getting all along. The kind I gave her a hundred times a day as a baby and the kind she still needs a hundred times a day.
But now I know, I know with certainty, that this is one of MANY kisses she got today. And tomorrow will bring more.
And I silently thank God that I have her to hold and kiss when so many are not as fortunate. And I make a pact with God that as long as I have my girls, I will kiss them and hug them and tell them I am their number one fan. And that invisible barrier will NEVER exist again as a result of my actions.
If you have missed any in the series 31 Days & 31 Ways To Be A Better Mom, catch up here:
INTRO TO SERIES:
DAY 1: OUR BEFORE SCHOOL RULE
DAY 2: UNPLUG AND PLUG IN
DAY 3: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR CHILD
DAY 4: EMBRACE YOUR CRAZY
DAY 5: BE A REBEL
DAY 6: DO AS I SAY
DAY 7: FIND YOUR VILLAGE
DAY 8: DIVIDE & CONQUER
DAY 9: ONE SMART COOKIE
DAY 11: STOP COMPARING YOUR CHILD
DAY 12: TAKE CARE OF #1
DAY 13: DATE YOUR CHILD
DAY 17: PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
DAY 18: QUIT BEATING YOURSELF UP
DAY 22: FAMILY DINNER SHMINNER
DAY 23: REBELLION IS A CRAZY THING
DAY 24: TELL THEM IT WILL GET BETTER
DAY 26: IT’S OKAY TO WISH TODAY WAS OVER
DAY 27: BE A GOOD DAUGHTER
DAY 28: QUIT TRYING TO BE THAT OTHER MOM
DAY 29: YOU CAN’T BUY THEIR HAPPINESS
DAY 30: TELL YOUR KIDS YOU ARE A FAILURE
DAY 31: LEARNING TO LET GO