My oldest princess has been so independent from the beginning.
She crawled at 5 months, walked at 9 months, and had a new baby sister that needed our attention one month after her first birthday. She didn't seem to have much time or need for snuggling- she was on the go and she was the big kid, not the baby.
Recently, she has been doing more growing up. You know that kind of growing up that happens when you are almost nine, when you start changing, and everything seems so overwhelming? Along with that changing and growing up has come a lot of emotion- tears and frustration and bickering.
I felt this ache in my heart as I realized how quickly she is growing up and how disconnected she and I have been this winter. I"ve been frustrated with her and she's been frustrated with me and more than a few nights I've cried and prayed about how sad I was to be losing my little girl to the tween years. As I prayed, God gave me some direction that was different from what I expected. You know what He told me to do?
Hug her more.
I was so surprised. Every once in awhile she's asked for a hug or snuggle time, but it always seemed to come when I couldn't (or didn't want to) give her that kind of attention. It appeared to come when she wanted out of something like going to bed at night or when I was right in the middle of something like cooking dinner or finishing a project and my answer had to be, "I can't right now. I'm busy."
I hadn't noticed how little physical affection I had been giving her lately, and I hadn't noticed how hungry she was for it. Until I started giving it to her.
Instead of opening the door in the morning and saying, "Rise and shine. Get up for school!" I've been going in to her room a few minutes early and snuggling with her until she wakes up. At school, I won't let her leave my car in the morning without a kiss and hug goodbye, and throughout the day, I've tried to grab her as often as I can and hug that little girl that she still is and will always be to me.
I didn't know hugs were her love language, or how empty her little love tank had become, but she's blooming lately and seems like a new, more peaceful girl. She needed Mommy hugs, and I'm so thankful God showed me she did, because what I didn't know or expect was how much I needed those hugs, too.
I love my girl!