Today I went to pick Arvind up from school and we went through the usual drill. The one where he ignores my greeting and looks pretty disinterested in gathering up his stuff to leave. We were almost back at the car when he suddenly spun around and hugged me. Arms tightly wound around my waist and tippy-toed as if he wanted to picked up and cuddled.
I was thrown for a huge loop, but I scooped him up and snuck in a snuggle and a kiss, realising sadly that both he and I might forget these moments in the future. I feel him melt into me and I wonder how much longer he will allow himself this comfort, this pleasure.
For a while now, he has been a big boy, “he is big enough”, “he is too big to..” and he is a big boy “so get over it already”.
I need to remind myself and him more often that its okay to feel small, that he doesn’t have to be big all the time and that being big doesn’t mean you need this facade of cool. I want to tell him that he can grow to be as strapping as his father and still need his hair tousled, still need his chin grabbed lovingly before I crush his bones.
I fear the day when you will shield me so totally from your heart and its inner workings and I fear not knowing if you are hurt, if someone has broken your heart or damaged your faith in some way. I might never know your deepest fears. I fear only knowing second-hand about your life. (If my mother-in-law has any peep, its because I talk to her. Even though the Viking thinks she is a great mother. Don’t ask.)
I fear your hugs being hesitant. I fear your grown-up disdain and disapproval. I fear you growing away and growing into another family.
Its just that I thought I could hold you so much longer, but I never bargained for time flying so fast – nary a breath from a little head in the crook of my elbow and here you are hesitantly needing me.
We’ve officially reached the part of the programme now where you say, ” Mum, are you crying again? Are these your happy tears?”
These are my bittersweet pearls, baby.