In just a few days, my little girl will turn 13. A teenager. She’s nearly as tall as me. She’s clever, confident and independent. But she is also the most affectionate person I know. The most affectionate person I have ever known. And I hope she never changes.
My husband and I have a quite ridiculous number of pet names and terms of endearment for my daughter. She won’t get out of bed without a hug, or several hugs. I basically hug her out of bed ever day, then walk her to the bathroom with her head on my shoulder. If I could still carry her, I have no doubt that she would like me to carry her there.
I tell her I love her several times a day – when she wakes up, when she goes to bed and a number of times in between. I kiss her every time I go near her. When she watches TV, she snuggles up to me or her daddy. Her daddy CAN still carry her and will sometimes give her a piggyback. We do it because she likes it. She thrives on affection.
My daughter still calls us Mummy and Daddy, even in front of her friends, and I love that. I hope it never changes. My kids might be teenagers now, but I still feel like ‘Mummy’, not ‘Mum’.
I don’t treat my boys like this, not because I love them any less, not because I don’t want to hug them, but because they don’t want it. A brief occasional hug or a little stroke of the arm is as much as they want. They don’t want to be told I love them – even though I would love to tell them I do. It’s not because they’re boys and she’s a girl. It’s because they’re all different people. I’m sure they know I love them just as much as their sister, and I show them that by treating them how they want to be treated.
I’m very grateful that I’ve got such an affectionate girl. I know that kids change when they reach the teenage years and that we’re probably on borrowed time and she won’t be as affectionate for much longer. So I’m going to treasure every hug while I still can.