Any morning that does not have TV as an option brings Anya to me first thing. She comes over for a hug, often wordless or with a short ‘good morning.’ She might not even lift her own arms but just lean into me with absolute trust and love and need. It is one of the best times of my day and I try to be available to it immediately. When I see her coming, I drop what I’m doing: quickly wipe peanut butter off my hands, or put the mug down unsipped, or close the laptop. She is totally and completely mine in those moments, needing to feel herself against me just as urgently as when she was a baby. But I know there is an important difference. When she was a baby, I could finish making the sandwich, sip the coffee, or read to the end of the email and she would still be there, waiting for me, needing me. But this new adolescent has other resources available to her, and if I am not ready for the hug, she won’t wait. Off she’ll go to her music, her books, her journal, her sister, her friends.
I treasure our ritual hug for what it is; a safe start to the day for us both. Once we’re sure of each other, we’re ready for the rest.