Thursday, January 5, 2012

Saturday morning: squeezes and hugs

I wrap the blankets tightly around me and savor the early quiet of an unplanned morning. Sam ends the serenity as he enters the room, pounding like a two-ton elephant. If that were not enough to wake me and all the dead, he leaps on my bed shouting, “WAKE UP MOMMY!”

Welcome to another Saturday.

I look up at a mischievous grin. I close my eyes pretending to sleep. “Hello Mommy” he announces in his sing-song way. He pokes at my eyelids trying to pry them open. I ignore him. He pushes his face closer to mine, our noses nearly touching. I open my eyes and find myself staring into his. Satisfied, he sticks out his arm and demands, “Scratch my itch!” followed quickly by “Can I have a toast please?”

I see the sparkle in his eyes and know today will be a good day.

He plops his 210-pound body back on the bed and looks for a big squeeze followed by a half dozen more all while sighing, “5,000 hugs. Every day.” He jumps back up, requesting again, “Can I have a toast, please? 

“Holds hands,” he says. This means come now and get me that toast.

Since he is in no danger of starving I suggest he dress first. “What’s the plan? He asks.  In the next 15 minutes, I will answer this question a dozen more times. Each time I answer he listens carefully as though hearing the answer for the first time. I reassuringly end with “It’s a good plan.”

“What’s the plan?” he asks the 13th time. “How about if you tell ME the plan,” I suggest. Sam complies, saying:

“First gets dressed.
Put on pants. Put on socks.
Eat breakfast.
Brush my Sam’s teeth."

Doing his best to mimic me, he ends with, “Is a good plan.”

He plops on the bed again asking, “Laptop?” Though I know what he wants, I prompt, “Is that how you ask?” “Can I have a laptop, please?” he corrects. I nod yes. He smiles and vaporizes as he runs to get the laptop.

Most Saturday mornings follow a similar exchange, making me feel part of an endless marathon of TV Land reruns. But Sam finds comfort in the predictability. Though each week I try to teach new words and answers to vary the routine, overall we have our established dialogs.

We head downstairs to make toast. Usually a collaborative effort, today I do most of the work and Sam does all the eating. Done, he jumps up and dances gleefully, twirling around the kitchen. He catches me by my neck as he waltzes by saying, “Squeeze him.” 

As I provide a squeeze I wonder about tomorrow. Who will laugh with him? Who will take the time to understand and push him? Who will love him when I no longer can? The universal questions every mother asks.

“Big squeeze. Big hug.” Sam requests again. “Arms around MY Sam's shoulders,” exaggerating 'my' to show he has the pronoun correct. “Yes, I know,” I say. “5,000 hugs every day.” “Is a lotta hugs,” he responds solemnly. 

Yes, indeed. 4,881 hugs to go. We’d better get busy.

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