She’s not like the other kids; not really. They’ve all been physically affectionate since the day they were born. Begging for cuddles or to hold my hand.
She won’t often kiss you if you ask. Endless snuggles on the couch rarely happen unless she is sick. And when I tried to explain to her that sometimes people want to hug you cause they love, (bizarre coming from me, I know), she just laughed.
Why would anyone want to do that?
The world is full of her; what she wants, what she needs. Teaching her otherwise is a challenge.
She is empowered with her own sense of self importance. She is the boss.
Her older siblings often fall victim to he determination and bossiness. She is not above a good bite or throwing a truck at your head. Even with me, she will clench her fists and stand and scream, pitting her stubborn will against my own.
But at two, she is also so beautifully vulnerable. When walking in the ships, she will suddenly run to me saying ‘cuddle, cuddle!’ It’s always when there is someone else approaching. A stranger looking to invade her very wide , personal space bubble. She comes to me for comfort and strength.
I should enjoy it, I should, but it’s always on her terms. And I wonder, is it me she adores?
Or is it just having an adult at her beck and call?
Does she love me?
Sometimes, just sometimes, I see a glimpse of something. Something uniquely Jess. Something that ties her to me.
She doesn’t look like me; she is all boatman. It’s him I see when I look in her eyes. But everything else….
The refusal to hug? I know that so well.
The desire to hit someone cause they took your toy? I get that.
The crazy way she dances, and the look of joy she gets when I do it as well? That’s all me.
I am in there; I am necessary. I am the grown up version and I get it. I get the aloofness and the lack of compulsion to be obvious in affection. Who needs it?
Turns out me.
My baby, the last of the last. I need to know she loves me.
This morning, I went to the toilet, wishing I didn’t have an audience. Wanting to go, for once, by myself.
And then I stopped and realised: this is love. Not wanting the potty, but rather waiting for the big toilet to be like mum. Needing help to climb on and off. Following me from one end of the house to the other, and then back to the couch where she flops for her early morning cuddles.
Flogging with With Some Grace who is gallivanting around Melbourne without me. *sigh*