Although I really should be packing (because all I have done to prepare for our trip so far is paint my toenails a sparkly, Disney-princessy pink), sometimes a mama just has to write. At least there is laundry happening even as I type.
Isaac. “Enthusiastic” falls short as a descriptive word for this boy. He loves. He just loves. Life, sunshine, friends, cuddly toys, purple grapes. Sometimes it’s all too much for him and there’s nothing he can do but dance through the house screaming in joy. Most recently, he is over-the-moon thrilled that his preschool class has grown by one and he has a new friend–Marcus.
After the snow break, when he found out that he would be going back to school (after missing a soul-crushing one day), he danced and jumped and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Yay school, I can’t wait to go to school, I love school, and I get to see MARCUS!!!!!!“.
We are a family that doesn’t hold back on affection. Hugs, kissses, I love yous–they are constant. And Isaac is learning about love at church. He came home Sunday quoting the scripture: We love because He first loved us. He gave me the overview of their lesson: Jesus loves EVERYBODY, even the mean people. And his motto which he declares with pride: I love EVERYfing and ALL THE Fings!!!! And it shows when you meet him. It just shows.
I was cutting up veggies for stir fry the other night and Jason had just come in from work. He was talking to the boys about their days and he asked Isaac if he had seen Marcus at school. Isaac said yes, but then his voice dropped a bit and he said sadly, “but he doesn’t want me to hug him anymore.”
It’s true. My child is a close talker. He is so affectionate and he becomes overcome with excitement and all he knows to do is share it with the people around him. He wants to hug, he wants to dance, and they don’t always get it.
My heart sank and I quickly walked in the living room, where Jason’s face was showing all the emotions I was attempting to hide. I made my voice as cheerful but non-chalant as possible and said, “you know, Goose, a lot of people just want to save their hugs for their family. Hugs are special like that. Now that I think about it, I sure wish you would save all of your hugs for us, because I would be sad if you gave them all away.”
He agreed, but a shadow fell across his face, like he knew this couldn’t be right. Because he loves his friends…..so why isn’t it okay to show them? Or even worse, why don’t they want to be a recipient of his affection?
I told him one good idea might be that if he feels like hugging them, to give them a high five instead and then we practiced “up high and down low–too slow”.
He went along with it, but I could see the doubt. The confusion because we’re supposed to love everyone, right?
I know he needs to learn this. I know it isn’t appropriate as he gets older for him to hug all of his friends and tell them that he loves them. I wish it was, but it’s not. Because they don’t want it. And they’re going to laugh at him. Eventually they will probably tell him that only girls watch Olivia or boys don’t like pink. They will say you should play football and hate gymnastics. And he will be shocked. They will slowly, slowly attempt to break my boy.
This morning in the shower I sobbed as I thought about it, because this time I had to be an accomplice. An unwilling but necessary accomplice to the breaking of my boy.
Don’t hug your friends, I said. Save them all for me.
I will never, ever, ever tire of them, my sweet, amazing child.