I bend down and kiss my five-year-old son good night. I motion to sweep his hair from his eyes when the back of his hand wipes my invisible kiss from his cheek and I catch my breath.
This seemingly natural reflex is new—wiping off his mother’s kiss—and it was not something I had expected until years down the road. I thought I’d have more time before this milestone.
With my kiss, a small token of love, his hand brushed away that moment of tenderness and in its wake planted the seeds for independence.
These are the same hands with fingers that curled tightly around mine minutes after he was born. The same hands that I held while helping him stumble-to-walk. The same I now hold while walking to preschool every day. The same hands that cradled my face on an afternoon to hold my gaze with his bright blue eyes and said, “Mama, will you remember these kisses?” as he proceeded to cover my face with his tiny mouth. The same hands that struggle to hold scissors and crayons at school. The same hands that interlock around my neck while I pretend I’m a galloping horse in the living room. The same hands that unexpectedly reach out to stroke the hair out of my eyes with a tender, “Mama, you are so beautiful,” when I am feeling my most unattractive.
This was the same hand that had wiped away my love in an instant…