X is for X’s and O’s

500 Words On….X’s and O’s.

First kisses - but far from the last!

There is a lot of kissing and hugging amongst our family. When I mentioned to Jeremiah recently that many boys his age didn’t want to snuggle with their parents anymore, and I am glad that he does, he looked at me as though I had three eyes.

“Really?” he asked.

Jeremiah is long past the age, now, where kisses on boo-boos have magical powers of healing.  Still, when he’s hurt or disappointed, he will find me and ask for a hug. I still seem to have some ability to act as a balm against the injuries his flesh and spirit are heir to.

Along with the hugs and the sloppy ten year old boy kisses, I get smiles, and laughter, and conversations I never could have had with my own parents, because I was busily trying to gain standing with them, being sure I didn’t step wrong, which could easily lead to yelling, hitting, and shaming.

Jammy-clad snuggles...Lise was not quite 3, here. =)

Kisses and hugs, in that family dynamic, were a weapon that might be withheld if a parent was angry – sometimes, for days on end.  I learned young to use them as tools, to try to curry favor.

Kisses and hugs came more and more sporadically as I grew, and, as an adolescent, my father seldom hugged me at all.

When I was younger, I was required to hug and kiss family members, even those I did not like. My feelings didn’t matter, so long as I did as expected, and allowed any related adult to take me into their arms and press their lips against mine – even when I didn’t trust them.

Here, the hugs and kisses are just a natural part of life. No one here is required to kiss or hug; and such shows of affection are common. There are hugs and greetings upon awakening, and, since our days do not include morning commutes or school, there are often lingering snuggles and tickles, too.

Miah, a week before he turned 10, rushing to give me a hug after I sang at NEUC. A precious moment, captured by Adam Smith.

Along with that comes talk – lots and lots of talk. There is something about being snuggled in together, or just close beside one another, doing something together, that leads to easy conversation that often goes to depths and in directions that I could never have predicted or orchestrated.

There’s an openness in a family where the kisses and hugs flow easily and freely. Such freedom and openness are born of trust, and they build trust, warmth, and close connection.

Jeremiah will be eleven in a few months. He’s not a little boy anymore. His thoughts and interests are maturing. I can see that, in just a few years, he’ll likely be giving hugs and kisses to girls he’s interested in, as well as to his family.

And so I am soaking up this precious time in his life, just before he crosses the threshold into approaching manhood, and I treasure every kiss, every hug, because he is who he is, just now,  fleeting and wonderful, and I don’t want to miss it.

Yeah, this pucker's for YOU!!!

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