If you’re not friends with me on Facebook then you don’t know that yesterday a seismic shift in parenting Tariku happened.
I was slow to wake up so Zach had opened our bedroom door to try to gently remind me to wake up (hearing 5 children run around and get ready for their day has that affect) when Tariku peeked his head in. He’s done this before, usually just says good morning and then is off.
But yesterday he hesitantly walked in a little further and came and snuggled with me. I hadn’t held my arms open inviting him (only because I was still groggy and hadn’t realized he was still in the room). It was all him initiating. And its as the first time it’s ever happened.
It should be said that Tariku and I have a very affectionate relationship but it’s always been because I’m an extremely affectionate person. Though 6 years ago he would bristle when I tried holding his hand or go in for the hug, he now lets me pretty effortlessly-though I would be surprised if he’ll ever be a hand holder, my apologies to his future wife. Tariku will sit by me if I ask him, he’ll keep his leg flung over my legs while we’re watching a movie if I place them there.
But to initiate it? It just doesn’t happen.
Because we’ve all felt that pain of rejection haven’t we? Our adopted kiddos more than most. Tariku has never been a risk taker-if you look hard enough you can physically see him weighing all options before he does anything. And initiating physical affection? Initiating love? Too risky for a guy who’s had his heart broken in one of the most significant ways one can. Though I’ve made more mistakes in parenting Tariku than I care to admit I can honestly say I’ve always understood that I would have to be the impetus for all the hugs and kisses and snuggles.
I guess I just hadn’t realized just how big of a deal it is to have someone you love so, so, so much crawl into bed and place his head on your shoulder without you asking for it.
But it’s a big freaking deal you guys.
Though I feel like it was a seismic shift I know that it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen all the time now. I know it doesn’t necessarily mean things will be vastly different from here on out. But I do believe if I continue to be vulnerable and look for the moments I can tell he’s wanting an “in” then maybe he’ll feel as open to it as he did yesterday.
So mamas out there, believe me when I tell you to keep at it. Keep loving on that babe that often doesn’t know what to do with your love. Keep being vulnerable yourself. I know how hard it is to constantly be the one to ask for hugs and kisses but keep. asking. Because you are showing that sweet child of yours that even though it’s scary to ask-it’s worth it. And maybe they’ll need to witness you going first for years or months before they work up enough courage to try it themselves, but stay strong. Stay open. Stay loving. Forgive yourself for the days when you don’t have it in you. One foot in front of the other. Hug upon hug.
6 years you guys. 6 years and one cuddle from him has made me *almost* forget the whole thing.