Sliding down from the table, unseen, a little person suddenly appears by my side with arms outstretched.
‘I want to give you a ‘tuddle’ Mummy’, says Billy.
The most generous of cuddle-givers in our house, but often apparently struck by the need while supposed to be finishing what’s on his plate, trying to go to sleep or having been tasked with tidying up some toys. Never wanting to take a cuddle for granted, the request is always met with a resounding, sweep-up-into-the-arms yes. But followed by a gentle return to the task in hand. The sweetest of moments, amidst the continual chivvying and cajoling that accompanies parenting a two year old.
There’s an enviable simplicity to the ‘stop and cuddle’ move. Comfort is given, and the journey continues.
I found myself caught up in an overwhelming flood of tears this weekend. It took me by surprise, which is never good as I’m not very adept at dealing with my emotions anyway. Sitting down to FaceTime with my sister, looking forward to a kid-free catch up and suddenly I can feel the tears gathering. Eyes filling, face beginning to blotch and the wave of emotion sweeps in. Having succumbed, there’s little hope of full recovery while still attempting to converse. And so we wobbled in and out of my emotional turmoil speaking of the little and the big, and wishing hands could reach through the screen and give comfort.
As for most in these times, screen to screen rather than face to face has become the norm. It’s been the way to communicate with family and friends ever since we moved to America, but there’s something about not being allowed to jump on a plane to visit that has intensified things. We’re all the more aware of the limitations of a screen, frustratingly far from that tangible interaction that comes with all the unsaids that cannot be seen or heard. All the time staring at both your loved one’s face and yours, hovering mirror-like in the corner.
I’m thankful that we live in the age of technology, and that I’m able to see my parents, my siblings, my granny via a screen. But how I long for the ease of the ‘stop and cuddle’ that is Billy’s way of life. I’m grateful to be on the receiving end of the cuddle requests from my little man, and for a husband who is every-ready with a hug. But I’m praying on for the travel bans to be lifted, and in the meantime for relationships to be rich, real and sustainable despite the distance.