It's hard to admit, but I have often been less than sympathetic when one of my children has come to me wanting a kiss on an owie. I have seen it as an interruption to whatever I am doing that is "so important" to have to stop, bend over, and kiss just the right spot on a hand. Miss, and you are told that wasn't it! And try again. Okay, all better, and off the babe runs to play again. I am pretty sure I won't be taking this need to be needed for granted anymore. Now I have a boy who doesn't run to me when he hurts. In fact, when he hurts or is sad or angry, he usually wants to get alone and just cry. And that's when I have to work harder. Take hold, keep close and tight and assure him of my love.
When you give birth to a child, or maybe even if you adopt a child at infancy, there is a natural molding to mama that occurs. I'm sure that it's a little different with every child. Still, I find myself wanting to know that I'm not alone. That I'm not the only one who wonders how long it will take before he stops stiffening when I put my hand on his back. Before he stops giving me the quickest hug goodnight that he can get away with. Months? I can deal with that. Years? That's a little more disheartening. A lifetime? Before he needs me- let's himself need me? I want him to know I'm a safe place. I want him to see me as more than the lady who fixes his food, reminds him to change his underwear, teaches him how to speak English. I want him to fight for the spot next to me on the couch. I think he's learning- slowly, but surely. We have rough days when I think we have hardly made any progress. Then there are glimmers of hope.
Today I took the kids for a bike ride. The older kids wanted to walk down a trail into some woods near our subdivision. Teshome wasn't thrilled with the idea and as he stepped forward tentatively, he reached for my hand and said, "scared, mama." A glimmer. For a second, the gift of being needed.