As sweet as Elizabeth can be, she's not much of a hugger.
Cuddling and sneaking a squeeze is just not her thing. In fact, even 'I love you's' are tough to get out of her. Now, this is not the case for the other two, who race and push each other down to get to my lap as soon as I take a seat anywhere in the house. Most mornings find me covered in Rachel and Caleb, with Elizabeth on the edge of the love seat.
That is her perch, especially after I (stupidly) taught her how to use the remote.
But that's another story.
Anyway, I have begged my child to come lay with me, cuddle with her mama, give me a hug...you get it...and sometimes she will...begrudgingly.
Now there have been random times that she's giving me glimpses past her tough exterior. Like about a month ago, when we were driving back from Wheeling, WV. We were about 6 hours into the trip and Caleb and Rachel (who both sit in the middle captain chairs of the van) were beginning to lose it. So I started playing "this little piggie" with their toes, making the little one go whee whee whee all the way up to their very ticklish necks.
Elizabeth was watching a movie and seemed to have cared less.
So I couldn't figure out why she was crying when we stopped for lunch. As she was bawling in my arms, I finally got out of her, "BUT I WANT TO DO THE LITTLE PIGGIES!!"
Guilt flooded me. "Oh honey! I'm so sorry! I didn't get to do the piggies with you, did I?" And we went to our seats and made the little piggies race up her neck right in the middle of McDonalds.
Flash forward to yesterday.
We had just been having a day of rumbles between Elizabeth Rose and myself. Her personality is strong and we're at the stage that she will just flat-out ignore me if she doesn't want to do what she's been asked to do...which of course, lights a fire under me faster than gasoline. We argued about which leotard to wear to gymnastics. We argued about picking up the major pony fort she had constructed during nap time. We argued over her not being able to light candles by herself (true story...she had put the play chair on the hearth in order to reach the lighter on the mantle...didn't see THAT ONE coming).
And the problem with the oldest being defiant is that the other two tend to follow right along suit. So it was just one of those days that I felt like all I did was discipline and harp and lay down rules and those just aren't that fun or rewarding. By the time Scott got home, I was spent. And I felt stupid being spent as a stay at home mom because duh, I STAYED AT HOME, but spent I was.
So dinner rolled around and, as I watched my children push the healthy food around their plate and moan and groan about the frittata I had fixed that had "yucky steak" in it, I felt myself sink lower and lower. Just the day before, I had heard a devotional on finding Jesus in our every day chores, to look for Him when things were mundane or hard raising our little people. But, for the life of me, I couldn't see Him.
Deciding that she was finished, Elizabeth hopped up from her seat and ran into the living room. Amazingly, she came back willingly when we asked her to clear her dishes and then the rest of the table (she enjoys most chores that don't involve picking up toys). Then, when she came back into the dining room from her first load, it happened.
She hugged me.
She stopped, put her arms around me and hugged me for a good 20 seconds.
Within the first 10, I was bawling my eyes out.
She looked up at me, shocked. "Mama! Why are you crying?"
And in that moment, I decided to be honest with her. "Oh honey," I sniffed. "Sometimes I'm just not sure you love me at all."
She hugged me tighter. "Well of course I do," she giggled. "You're the best mama I have!" (Oh Jesus...THERE you were!)
And with that, she cleared the rest of the table, each time stopping to give me a quick squeeze. Scott reached across our ketchup covered son to squeeze my hand and we both paused in the brief minute of peace in the house.
Well, until bath time...
Happy Wednesday, friends!