When I was little, and we were having a bad day and needed a little extra love or a snuggle, my mom used to ask us if we needed some strokes. We’d sit on her lap (or as close to her as possible) and she’d just hug and cuddle us. Sometimes, you don’t know why you need them, you just do.
And sometimes you just need your mom.
I can tell when my children need strokes. In our case, the kids call it “mommy-love” which, truly, says it all. Don’t children have a knack for finding just the right words?
Little Meems has always been a little mom. This, much to her brothers’ chagrin. And sometimes it gets her in trouble. But she’s always been intuitive and genuinely concerned about other people’s feelings and emotions. Which is why she won an award for compassion.
One day, years ago, I was struggling. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
I'm one of those people who prefer private emotion - for myself anyway. I remember angrily shoving clothes into the washing machine, fighting back tears. The kids rounded the corner to go upstairs to the playroom and Meems stopped in her tracks when she saw me. I turned away so she couldn’t see my eyes. “Mommy what’s wong?” She was about 4 at the time. “You cwying?” I can remember the look on her face so vividly, and if I wasn’t crying before, the expression on her little face was so touching that it brought tears to my eyes.
“No, just sneezed. I’m ok.”
“You need some Meemer love?”
Not mommy love. Meemer love. Like I said, intuitive. The girl knows what love is.
“No, honey, mommy’s fine.” Not wanting to worry her, or answer her questions. Or tell her I was scared. Or scare her.
She ran off. I resumed my angry laundry.
Then two little arms encircled my legs and squeezed. I scooped her up and hugged her for dear life. Her head resting on my shoulder, she whispered "i don't fink you telling the twuf."
"Don't cwy." Searching my eyes for the answer to what was wrong. Wiping away my tears.
Is there anything more amazing than a child's capacity for love?
Or more specifically, THIS child's capacity for love?