I often look at the parents of babies and toddlers when I am out and about with a mix of envy and relief. I fondly remember cradling my precious little ones and watching them discover the world while they stumbled around, their chubby little legs finding their way. I still smile at babies every time I see one (you’d have to be heartless not to, right?) and the pre-preschool set seems drawn to me for some reason. Maybe I just give off some kind of mother/teacher pheromone only children under the age of five can pick up on. However, when I see the same wee ones break down crying out of the blue, or watch frantic parents chasing their children around non-babyproofed environments, a little bit of smug satisfaction washes over me that I don’t have to deal with that on a regular basis anymore. I will admit that the first day I could leave my house without a diaper bag kind of felt like I had won the lottery.
All that being said, my children are growing up faster than I could ever imagine. My “baby” is now ten years old. My oldest is actually the age I was when I got married (something I try very hard not to think about). They are all independent and no matter how glad I am that they can take care of themselves, I do get wistful for the days of those adorable little babies needing me and clinging to me out of sheer love.
That’s why I suppose I am very lucky that my baby isn’t ready to give that up entirely. Every morning, and I mean EVERY morning, he still comes and climbs into bed with me for “snuggles”. He just doesn’t feel like the day can start right without his snuggles. During the school year, he gets up, gets his school uniform on, and climbs into bed with me. He knows me far too well and has it timed that he can snuggle until the second time I hit my snooze button, then he gives me a kiss and goes to get his breakfast. Now I will admit that on non-school days I don’t always relish this tradition of his quite as much, especially when I have stayed up entirely too late and he climbs in next to me at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. I’m a light sleeper, I always know when he’s there. But typically, I start every day with a little bit of snuggle time that reminds me of a bygone time.
My oldest was always a cuddler when he was young. I knew he was growing up when he stopped waking me up by noisily crawling into bed with me in the mornings. While I enjoyed the extra sleep, it was a bit sad that it was the end of an era. Every so often, though, when he was in high school, he would still plop down in bed next to me to find out what I had planned for our day and it would make me smile. I always know when my usually tough fourteen year old son is really sick, because he will climb into bed with me and just moan. And I still get kids climbing into bed with me in the middle of the night during bad thunderstorms.
I have come to the conclusion that a parent’s bedroom is one of the main places our children are reminded of that mother/child bond no matter how old they. I still occasionally sneak into my parents’ bedroom when I am visiting them and wake my poor mother up to ask her where I can find something I need. But she doesn’t complain. And I won’t complain about my morning snuggles, no matter how old my children get. They may not need me for most of the things in their lives, but it is good to know that they still need me.