I miss my babies. What what? You ask, where are they? Well, literally, they’re just down the hall, but – figuratively – they are gone forever. Those fleshy sweet, peach-fuzz coated cheeks and chubby cherub digits are no more, and worse – much, much worse – even if they were still there for me to kiss/squeeze/chew/hug/cuddle, I have been banned from ever getting near them again.
Banned!? By whom? By those aforementioned babies, who -- at ages 13 and nine -- openly and ardently claim that they are the victims of too many kisses and hugs from their Mama. Can you believe that? Isn’t that just the saddest story you’ve ever heard?
I know, I know. How will I survive? I can’t be sure. Now, you empty nesters are surely shaking your heads and smirking at my naiveté. “Oh, please!” you scoff, “Just wait until they go to college in another state. And never call.” Oh, the injustice! It’s true, I must begin to brace myself. But, first, I must mourn the kisses. Baby steps.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I have a little bit of a problem with kisses: I don’t know when to stop. I’m insatiable and always have been. Even as a 12-year-old auntie to my brother’s baby girl, I was already the scary old lady with the wobbly lipliner that pinches cheeks and leaves a big fat wet spot on the poor baby’s cheek. My favorite has always been what we call in our family the Poofy Kiss. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s the one where you nestle your mouth in the baby’s neck/belly/arm/leg and blow. It’s just the best ever. (At least for me.) Some babies do actually like it – until maybe the 38th Poofy Kiss and then they never want to see my Poofy face again.
By the time my brother had four more kids and my other brother had two of his own, the whole gang of nieces and nephews would run for the hills fast as soon as they saw me coming. You might think that I would have gotten the hint, but no.
I just decided that I needed to have my own babies to kiss. And it worked, for a short while. Baby Daddy knew it wouldn’t last. He wisely advised me to pace myself, to calm down, breathe and not smother the baby. But did I listen? NO! I did not. And the result is that my baby girl, my beloved firstborn, weaned herself from me at 11 months. And that was pretty much the last time she ever let me hug/kiss/cuddle/touch/snuggle her. It was so bad that a girlfriend at the time actually bought me a book called, Stop Kissing Me!
Thank the heavens I had another baby, a boy this time, who – just as I had hoped – indulged me for far, far longer than his sister did. Oh, happiness and joy joy!! The morning sickness, the labor, the 12 months of colic (seriously) – none of it mattered. He was the snuggliest, shmoochiest, loviest, cuddliest little lamb that ever graced the face of this earth, I tell you. And then, he turned nine and it was all over. Done. Finito. Kaput.
Sob! Please, I’m sorry . . . please excuse me while I gather my . . self . . . .
Sniff. I’m back. Now, listen, I know there are worse things one could be subjected to endure. War. Cancer. Bad eyebrows. But, it sometimes feels like my life might actually be over. The new generation of babies in the family is on the east coast; too few of my friends have babies (and now they probably won’t let me anywhere near them) and I’m years (let’s hope) from becoming a grandmother.
These days, whenever I see a baby (which, in my world, is any child under five), I tap into my best Zen self. I do, I promise. I have to do this especially when my kids are watching because they accuse me of being a Baby Scarer. I must change their minds before they have their own babies or else . . . oh no, perish the thought!
And so I stay calm and respectful and keep the squealing to a minimum. I engage in a little chit-chat before even thinking about diving into the neck/cheek zone. Sometimes I even ask permission first. My pal Bunny Fufu’s precious angel will allow very occasional kisses after some jokey banter (I basically need to buy her a drink first). I’m learning. And trying. But, really, I just want my babies back.
Kisses (and now you know how much I really mean it),