We can envision it: The grandkids running into our arms, happy to love and be loved. Reality check: living with the grandkids, boys in their teens, conversation is limited, hugs are few and generally one directional.
When Blue Boy was smaller, I would grab his arms and throw them over my shoulders. If I was lucky, he would lean his head toward me and call that a hug. Now that he is almost full grown, I am thankful for a one-sided embrace that he doesn’t squirm away from.
Because she has been their only parent for most of their short lives, the grandsons are especially close to their mother. But even she doesn’t get much in the way of physical tenderness from Blue Boy.
Mowgli on the other hand is a snuggler. He has crawled into bed with me, sat on my lap, and hugged me spontaneously whenever I picked him up. He went through a period when he wiped away my kisses until a heart-warming day playing on the swing set when he turned me to and said, “Grandma, you can kiss me and I won’t wipe it off.”
But the teen years and now the backlash of COVID-19 has turned Snug Bug surly, wanting only his mother’s affections.
A few days ago I told him that I could use a good hug. With his mother’s encouragement, he did allow me to embrace him for a few seconds which was enough for me to recall his toddler demonstrations of love. How poignant.
As a mother I am thankful that all my kids enjoyed hugs and kisses even through their teen years. C-boy would cuddle with me when watching TV and allow me to hug (not kiss) him when I dropped him at school. Interestingly, I noticed many boys hugging their mothers in high school. How endearing.
Is this why old women love babies? Tender to hold, ready to be cared for, easy to love. As we enfold the little ones in our arms, we remember those days when we embraced our own children with our love. We still have love to give.