Her Bad Mother put up this post the other day and challenged people to write about the physical love they feel for their kids. It's a difficult subject, since it's easy to make it sound...well, just plain wrong.
I wasn't raised by demonstrative parents. They didn't snuggle and cuddle and kiss and hug. They were reserved, to the point of coldness. I don't ever remember my mother or my father spontaneously hugging me. They just didn't do it. My mother actually discouraged it. She couldn't handle emotions of any kind - tears or joy would make her tense up and get angry. She's still that way today.
I can't say that I felt deprived, since I didn't know any different, but I was a bit fearful of my parents. I didn't feel that they were all that interested in my thoughts or interests, so I didn't talk to them about it. I lived inside my head, mostly, and was slightly jealous of the relationships my friends seemed to have with their mothers.
Then I had children. I couldn't stop looking at them, touching their soft cheeks as they slept, nibbling on their toes as they lay in my lap, brushing their heads as they nursed. I can't seem to keep my hands off them. I hug them, I kiss them, I tickle them. I love the feel of their warm little bodies when they sit next to me. I love to feel O's head on my shoulder when she's tired. I love to brush her hair and feel the weight of it as it falls thru my fingers. I love to blow raspberries on The Boo's tummy and listen to her squeals and giggles. I love how she runs to me and throws her arms around me and says "Hugs, mama! Hugs!" I love her slobbery toddler kisses on my face. I love to rub noses with her and stare into her blue eyes until we both start giggling. I love that The Bug has dark hair and I stroke it constantly, amazed that I finally have a child with my hair colour. I love to hold her against my chest as she falls asleep, to feel that skin on skin contact and to breath in her intoxicating baby smell.
I want to envelop them with affection. I want them to feel unconditionally loved, to feel able to give and recieve physical affection without stiffening up or pulling away. Now that I know what I missed as a child, I want to make sure my children don't have the same experience
I think there's part of me that wants to keep a piece of them with me, too. I crave their presence when they're not here. It's a physical ache when I'm away from them, a desire to get home and hug them, to sweep them into my arms and bury my face in their necks and just inhale them.
I never thought I would feel this way. Most of my friends would tell you that I'm pretty reserved, not given to spontaneous, public displays of affection. But when it comes to my kids, it's a whole different kettle of ball games.