May 6, 2008

Hugs and Kisses, or the Lack Thereof

You all know about Empty Nest Syndrome. Though my "nest" is not yet empty I think I might have a mild case of its lesser known evil twin No Hugs & Kisses Syndrome. I was thinking about it the other day after I dropped off my nearly 19-year-old son at work. When he was young and I took him to school he would smother me with kisses and hugs before leaving me for the day and again when he came home in the afternoon. Now I'm lucky if I get a "Thanks for the ride, Mom" out of him. I realize that he's an adult now but no matter how old my children get they're still my children, right?

It comes and goes but I feel that something has been missing in my life for some time. It occurred to me recently that the problem is the lack of physical affection from my brood. When you're used to years of hugs, kisses and fixing boo-boos it feels pretty strange when all of a sudden (or so it seems) your kids don't need you for those things any more. Okay, that's not entirely true. They do seem to need me for rides, occasional loans and Sunday dinners, but things have definitely changed.

Maybe I just didn't want to see that they're saving their hugs and kisses for other people now. Not that there is a limit of affection one can give in a day but apparently hugging your mother is so not cool after a certain age. I remember my mother telling me she felt the same way. Although in her case there were so many of us that by the time she got to the last kid the older siblings were providing a new crop of kidlets for Grandma to cuddle. So while her arms were usually kept busy I now understand how she felt.

My children are old enough to have their own babies that I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to snuggle with, but I'll gladly wait until they finish their educations and figure out what they want to do with their lives. No baby pushing from me! Well, maybe just a little nudge?

Now go give your mom (or your kids) a big hug. Happy Mother's Day!

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