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It is hard to explain and accept that you can’t just assume that he will always embrace your affections. That after hours or days or even weeks of not seeing his delightful smile, that he would openly allow you to take him into your arms. So that you may show him how much you love him, how much he means to you. This is not how it works for him.  He must decided when. He must decide how it will play out. This is alright if you have no needs to fill, if you are perfectly happy within the space he creates for a while. It is hard to explain that this is not personal. That even a mother, a father, a grandparent or sibling can be denied at anytime. It is easy to assume that just because he wont allow you to take him in your arms, that he is not happy to see you. It is easy to mistake this for not caring. It is easy to feel hurt, even betrayed by his rejections. He is only three, and unaware of it all. I see, when people come to visit, how excited he is, how he hides this behind peculiar noises and animal masks. I see, that he is wanting to engage you, how happy he is that you are here, that you have come to see him. He may not show you this in the way you are expecting. He may show you this by watching you for a while from a distance, he may talk to you from behind his hands or he’ll find something for you to play with beside him. When he’s ready, when he feels that there is no longer any pressure, he will show you love. The love that you were seeking from the very beginning. I have found that it is always better to ask first. This is an unusual mannerism to try to adopt, to try to get others to follow suit too,  that we should ask the other if a cuddle is alright or a kiss to say I love you, especially if that other is only a child. We are so accustomed to greeting each other this way, it comes naturally for most, and usually expected. It’s a pattern we have had to relearn for this little one. In the process it is teaching us about boundaries and personal space even with the ones we love. We are having to teach him about feelings and empathy and faces and body language. Why we sometimes cry and that laughing means you are happy. We are learning too, every step of the way, to take more notice of each other, to read the signs, to assume nothing and most of all to be patient. I don’t know if this will ever come naturally to him, if he will always find it at times uncomfortable and unnecessary. I’m not sure if we can change this or if we even should be trying. He is who he is, it won’t always fit with the world, it won’t always be what we want it to be, but if we can teach him to love and embrace himself in all his uniqueness and not be bothered so much about the things that really don’t matter, then I believe, that will be more than enough.