Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Pay the toll
My son just asked me to open a bag of cookies, and I told him he had to "pay the toll," which means a hug or a kiss. We jokingly make the kids trade affection for favors. It’s a silly fun game we like to play. He gave me a kiss, but then said, "Mom, I don't have to, right?"
He knows he doesn't have to, that it's just a silly thing. He knows that his body is his own. We never insist on hugs or kisses if they don't want to. We ask. We encourage. But in the end, their bodies are theirs to control when it comes to affection.
"No, you don't have to. But you like to kiss me, right?" I asked him.
"Right, mom, but you just ask for hugs and kisses too much."
We’ve reached that point already. The point at which I want their affection more than they want mine. I can’t believe we’re there already.
I shrugged it off. They’re getting older. They’re busy and have places to be and things to do and snuggling mom is not at the top of the list anymore. They’re secure and they know I will always be here and it means I am doing my job.
It’s OK, even though, waaah, it totally sucks.
A few minutes later, he came back in. I was enjoying a glass of wine while reading on my Kindle.
“Mom, if you want to drink any wine, you have to pay the toll."
Not gone yet. I paid my toll, one kiss, and he ran off to do all of the extremely important things in the life of an almost-five-year-old boy. Gratitude. These days are not gone yet.