As my children get older I find myself longing for more attachment, my arms aching for more snuggles, more closeness. When my kids were tiny babies, it was easy to lose my sense of wonder in their overwhelming needs. I often got frustrated that they needed so very much of me, so very much of the time.
Now my son is 15 months, and he is off exploring, crawling down off my lap more often than he is crawling into it, and I am missing the level of closeness he and I shared when he was completely dependent on me for everything.
My daughter, now 7, is even more difficult to catch and cuddle. She is all energy and independence, too busy for long snuggles with mom. If I capture her attention with a movie or a story I can get her to snuggle into me for a few moments before she wiggles free, but otherwise she is simply busy living her own life.
It is the way things are supposed to be. The baby time is gone so quickly. The magic synergistic relationship between mother and child fades as children develop their own identities. The eyes that once gazed at you in complete trust begin to wonder if you know anything at all, because “Seriously Mom, you just don’t get it.”
I am hopeful that the closeness we developed through co-sleeping, nursing, and other AP principles will help us stay connected as the kids continue to grow. I hope that early connection will keep us together when they hit the teen years, and will allow us to maintain our family closeness when they are trying to break out and develop their own peer groups. It’s hard to let go of the little babies I can still see in my ever growing children.
I know I can’t keep them in my arms forever, I get that they have to break free and do their own thing. I just hope they will take me along every now and then, and let me into the new worlds they create along the way. It is my hope that raising them with love and respect, closeness and touch will make it easier for them to include me in their new lives, instead of pushing me out.