loved

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{image is a photo of me kissing Brooke’s tiny forehead in the hospital before taking her home. She is four days old.}

It was time for bed. Well, if I’m being honest, it was long past time for bed, but neither of us was really ready for me to go. I remained where I was, curled around my girl in her tiny bed, fighting for space with a menagerie of stuffed animals and Ellie, an elephant the size of Manhattan.

“Kiss me!” Brooke yelled into the darkness. From under Ellie, her voice was muffled.

“What, honey?” I responded, unsure of what she had said.

“KISS ME!” she yelled again, her voice high and tight with need.

I kissed her smooth, warm cheek and, as though by magic, she was calm.

This is a thing now. Over the past few weeks, whenever Brooke has been feeling anxious, she has come to me for a kiss on her face or head. The demand for the kisses has continued to increase in both frequency and urgency. While I’m always happy to oblige, it’s not always easy to do, or even safe, as in when we are in the car in the middle of traffic and she needs me to kiss her face RightThisVerySecond. That said, I began to think last night – perhaps if I know exactly what it is that she’s seeking, or the feeling that she gets from the kisses, maybe I can help her to come up with an alternate strategy – one that can be employed in my absence or when I can’t get to her immediately. To that end, I asked her a question.

“Sweet girl, when you’re feeling anxious, do you know why kisses help?”

She didn’t answer, but I know better than to think that means she won’t. My girl needs time.

I listened to the soft gurgling of the fish tank and waited.

When she was ready, she issued three words.

“You love me.”

“I sure do,” I said. “How much?”

“So much – more than anything in the whole wide world,” she said. One of our oldest, and favorite, scripts.

I gave her a squeeze, then tried another tack.

“How do Mama’s kisses make you feel?”

This time, there was no wait. No gurgling fish tank, no quiet, no time to process the words then find her own. The answer was immediate.

“Loved.”

I kissed every inch of her cheek, then sprinkled kiss after kiss through her hair.

Finding another strategy?

It would wait.

10 thoughts on “loved

  1. Beautiful. You are so lucky. The one thing my girl hates most is being kissed. Sometimes I forget, and get a scream of “No kisses!” Perhaps she’ll grow into it one day.

  2. I wonder if we shouldn’t kiss our neurotypical kids more often. I see my students acting out in ways that quite literally drive me crazy – but maybe it’s because they just want to feel loved. I don’t think I’ll start kissing them (they’re junior high age) but if I can remind myself of your exchange with Brooke, maybe I can push my panic aside and show them they are loved. Thank you for another enlightenment!

  3. My 8 yr old likes to rub her little nose on my cheek, like a kitten would do to their mama. In the beginning it was cute, but recently she has been doing it more and more, making it annoying to me. Thank you, once again, for putting things into perspective. I now realize she does this to feel a sense of security. Your posts always come at just the right time!! Thank you.

  4. Brooke continues to know what she wants and is able to convey it to you now. How far she’s come! How far she’s going!

    Love you,
    Mom

  5. I know that sometimes when we are just having a generally yucky kind of bad day, I just decide to go overboard with the attention and love to both my 9-year-old boys (both my NT and my neuro-exceptional child). It has an extremely high efficacy rating in our house. Plus mom loves it too.

  6. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE LUCKY THAT SHE WANTS KISSES, ALOT OF PARENTS WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO HAVE THIER CHILD ASK THEM FOR A KISS. BLESS YOU BOTH.

  7. I love this. My B & I had a similar conversation last night after reading a Clifford book “Puppy Love”. Love knows no differences.

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