I remember the first time I kissed him like it was yesterday.
He smelled like heaven. My love for him was streaming down my face, leaving his little cheeks wet. I kissed away the tears. He was warm and soft and the very definition of perfection. Before having kids, I never fully understood parents who kissed their kids on the lips; the lips seemed so intimate to me. Yet the first time they placed him in my arms my lips instinctively pressed against his. They lingered over them while I inhaled his scent; a scent that was so brand new yet so familiar to me all at the same time.
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I kissed him every chance I got. When I was changing his diaper, when we were cuddling before bed, when we were playing on the floor. I kissed him until I started to wonder if it was abnormal to want to kiss someone every second of your life. He loved my kisses. He giggled as I snuggled in close. He grabbed my face in his chubby little hands and would look straight into my eyes. He saw right into the depth of me. In those moments; my face in his hands, our noses touching, it never crossed my mind that the time would come when he didn’t want me to kiss him anymore.
Yet that’s where this journey seems to be heading. Now he’s a little man and I’m just his mum. Mum kisses are more embarrassing than anything at this time of his life. I lean in and I inhale his smell, which is something like sweat, a little like the rubber of either his soccer ball or his basketball and nothing at all like a baby. When he sees me coming in he leans his head down and my lips hit the top of his hair.
I want to ask him why. Why he doesn’t want to kiss me anymore? If it was something that I did? Or maybe something that I’m not doing? I want to demand that he allow me to hug him close and kiss him at my own will. I want to but I can’t.
He’s my son but it’s his body. He gets to decide when someone kisses him. It’s not my call to make. He needs to know that he is allowed to make these types of decisions; who gets in close to him and when.
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While my heart breaks just a little each time he offers up his head and reminds me that he doesn’t like kisses, I know this is just a stage. A normal little boy stage where kisses are gross and their mum’s aren’t cool. I am perfectly aware of the fact that as much as my public displays of affection just aren’t his thing right now he still needs to feel how much I love him and I try to show him as often as I can.
I know eventually our journey will bring us to a place where my love for him won’t be embarrassing but welcomed and appreciated. So for now, I have to settle for a hug or a nose kiss or whatever he’s ready to share with me in the moment. I relish in our quiet time together; early in the morning, when it’s just the two of us and he tells me all about his life. Or our before bed stories when he asks me to stay with him for just five minutes while he falls asleep. My favourite moment is when he's snuggled in tightly, looking innocent and peaceful, his arm resting around my neck. I whisper “I love you Mr. T.” and he whispers right back “I love you too, Mummy.”