I just spent the weekend with my niece, Charlie (nickname for Charlise). I am utterly addicted to her. She has not even been gone for 24 hours and I miss her so much. What is it about little munchkins that make our hearts yearn for them?
My sister and I had a conversation during our last visit over a month ago, about being connected to children in ways that our parents were not connected to us. Part of that is about paying attention to their wants, needs and being present. I know it is a different era, but I grew up in one (of which I have said often) where my father felt that children should be seen and not heard. Maybe I was grossly offended by this, tainted, what have you, but I am definitely not going to have my kid(s) nor my niece(s), nephew feel that they should not be heard. Their voice matters. I watch the deep love my sister has for Charlie. It is so clear that Charlie is so loved. My sister does not complain, you can see her yearn for her time with Charlie, it is as if she knows so deeply that this precious time will not last, and she is going to make sure Charlie has a different childhood than she had.
Our childhood story is bigger than just not being heard. My mom had an at home day care when I was very young, and yet I do not remember her ever being (that I can remember) the touchy, hugger, cuddler type. My dad became more of a hugger once I was in college. My grandma was even less of a hugger. So, maybe that was why my mom was not much for cuddles. Fast forward to my sister and me. Before Charlie we were not really that into hugging. Yet, with Chris I am a hard-core hugger. I need my daily…well multiple times a day hugs from him. I love hugs. I want to start my day with one, I want to end my day with one. I would take a deep intense hug over a kiss any day. I strongly believe that somehow Charlie has made my sister and me connect on a deeper level. Almost like Charlie has broken the years of non-hugging brought about by my childhood family. Thank you, Charlie!
I wonder, do we give our kids what we never had? Did my sister and I crave that kind of connection and family that she is now giving Charlie? I love Charlie with a depth and yet I have only seen her a total of three weekends. Where does that come from? Where does that love so deep and so extensive show up and we know we are never the same without this precious munchkin in our world? We want to make them laugh and giggle. We want to cuddle, snuggle, and never forget their smell.
Like I said. My niece is da bomb.