what his heart heard…

I stopped kissing him a while ago.
I fought through the shrugs and stares,
through the “Stop!” and the “Mom, no!”
for a while
and then just gave up the fight.

A few weeks ago, his father kissed his head
and I said, “he won’t let me do that anymore.”

He said, “you don’t ever want to.”

I should have never stopped.

I stopped because I heard his words,
not his heart.

At almost 6’3″ I can’t even reach his head
unless he’s bowed over a bowl of cereal.
I kiss his head then.

I kiss his head when his ears are plugged with earbuds
and he is bent over his Algebra 2.

I kiss his head when he’s sprawled on the couch
and his attention is on the game on the screen.

Funny thing,
I’ve realized I’m out of the habit of such things.

It’s making it a conscious choice to stop
and kiss the head of this mancub of mine.

I forget often
but I’m learning to remember.

Funny thing,
he doesn’t say anything
but he no longer
fights or shrugs me off.
Instead, he stills and waits.

I think when I stopped kissing him
his heart heard words I never intended to say.

I also think his heart
missed it
more than he will ever say.

To every mom out there,
don’t stop kissing your boy.
His heart needs to hear your love.

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14 thoughts on “what his heart heard…

  1. What a wonderful post Heidi! I get the “shrugs” and “dodges” of my hugs and kisses now too. I don’t like it one bit and I have to fight to get my kisses planted on his head. I will remember your words when he dodges me and will continue to fight. He is gonna get them whether he likes it right now or not! 🙂

    1. and I’m sure Noah will thank me the next time I see him 😉

  2. Wise….and hard to balance their need for space and their need for love.

  3. I needed this reminder today. While we don’t have a teenage boy at home, we do have one who struggles with attachment (adoption-related). He does. not. like. physical affection. But we’ve found that his heart yearns for that affection. He watches the oh-so-easily-given-and-received hugs and snuggles of his adopted-at-4-months-old brother, and I can see the ache in his eyes. It’s a very careful line we have to walk–to hug him gently, briefly, without smothering him; to kiss his head quickly, quietly, when he’s otherwise occupied; to find other ways to touch him lightly, often, to feed his heart without threatening his soul. Thank you for reminding me that this struggle will continue as he grows from his former shattered self into a continually healing young man.

    1. and thank you for the reminder that it only needs to be simple, quiet, and quick little things that speak to their hearts.

  4. This post made me cry b/c I wonder what messages my children are hearing me say through my actions, or lack of actions. My oldest daughter is almost 9 and seems so mature and independent already. She is almost too big to sit in my lap and seems to want her space, yet a week or two ago, I asked her how I could show her better that I love her and she said with hope in her voice…. “Give me hugs and kisses again”. Thinking that she wanted independence, I stopped pulling her to me for those hugs and kisses. I now realize that she needs them still.

    1. this mothering thing is so hard, isn’t it? 😉

  5. Very good post Heidi, I just love the way you have with words! Here is another moment to remember to enjoy, the taxi time! It seemed we lived in a car some weeks, so plenty of time to talk. Now that he has a car and drives everywhere himself, we still talk, but not near as much as on those “taxi” drives. Thanks for opening your heart and life so others may learn.

    1. thanks for the reminder Belinda. It’s a struggle, some days, to not resent the Taxi Time. Thanks for reminding me that these days are gifts!

  6. So good, Heidi. I didn’t stop the kissing when my 30 yr old son was a teenager – but I stopped going in at night to kneel by his bed and pray over him. I didn’t stop praying for him at other times – but I SO wish I had not stopped kneeling by his bed and praying for him and over him – even if he was staying up later than me — I still could have gone in and made him sit on the bed while I prayed next to him. Out of everyone in the world…a teenager’s heart needs to hear his mother praying.

  7. This brings tears for me, for opportunities missed. Also,renewed desire to embrace each moment.

    1. Yes, and I think HE gives redemptive moments for us to embrace to take some of the sting out of the missed opportunities.

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