Motherhood, Reflections, Toddler Days, Years are short

Why I Will Always Pick up my Child

Have your arms ever cried out for relief from carrying your child?

We recently attended a friend’s son’s birthday party. During our time there, in a conversation that the mother of the boy was having with Aaron (they used to be coworkers), I overheard her saying that while she was still able to lift the 1.5 year old, she could no longer pick her 3-year-old up.

As Aaron shared the conversation he had had with his former coworker, I learned that she had undergone back surgery recently that no longer allowed her to pick her older son up.

I felt sad. I am not sure how she felt about this but having personally nursed a bad back for as long as I can remember, a pain that has only worsened since having kids, I imagine that I might have to undergo back surgery myself one day even though I really pray and hope that it won’t get to that.

More importantly, what I really felt sad about was wondering about the unlikely but real possibility of never being able to pick my kids up.

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Now I am not going to lie to you and say I ALWAYS love doing this. God knows there have been times when I was extremely tired myself, was supremely pregnant to ever want to lift anything more than my own self, or just fed up of (what I saw as) my toddler’s whining, complaining, and refusal to climb stairs even as I was carrying his baby sister in a car seat and 2 heavy bags of groceries upstairs. However, even in these moments I HAVE picked my child up after setting the baby in a safe place and laying the bags of groceries on the kitchen floor.

If TJ asks me to carry him, I ALWAYS comply because I find great joy in doing so. The only times I may refuse to do this is when I need him to walk for exercise (e.g., if we’ve been in the car for too long or he’s been sitting in a stroller for longer than I would like him to be) but all other times, if he asks for it, he gets it.

Why? Because, time. There will be a time very soon when he will no longer ask to be held or picked up like that. As his personhood emerges stronger, more assertive, and confident in himself; as he gets taller, leaner, older, and more independent; as he becomes more socialized into the ways of the kid world around him; and as he simply becomes too heavy for me to physically pick him up, I know I will miss this physical manifestation of affection immensely.

His gentle hands locked in hugging my neck, the firm fold of my arms under his little tush, my lips perfectly positioned by his cushiony cheeks to devour him with kisses…it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Holding and hugging your child close to your heart with arms enveloping each other, is a feeling perhaps second only to having one’s child resting her head on your chest listening to your heartbeat as you snuggle inside her hair, kissing it tenderly.

That is why, I will almost NEVER turn down the opportunity to pick up my child and hold him, no matter how tired I am or how exhausted my arms are or how much my poor back is begging for relief. It is my pleasure and my privilege to be those arms for my child, to provide him the comfort and support that only they can assure him, to be a mother in one of the most tangible ways I know, and to bask in the warmth of that beautiful moment thanking the Universe for having given me this priced moment that I have been so fortunately blessed with.

Because one day I’ll WANT to pick him and hug him close to my heart but he’ll want to have nothing to do with that.

Because if I don’t do it today, when that day comes, I will terribly miss not having picked up and held my child more when I had the chance to do so.

Because when that day DOES come, I want to be able to feel okay about it and accept it as a natural developmental milestone and just let it happen.

This post is also published on The Huffington Post.

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13 thoughts on “Why I Will Always Pick up my Child

    1. Oh mama. I can imagine how you feel. Even now I have to sometimes bribe him for a hug. Go figure. Tears tears. Wonder what’s it going to be like when he turns 10. Don’t even want to think about it.

  1. Nice post! I can relate to that. I have a 2-yr old who sometimes doesn’t want to be kissed, hugged or picked up. Sometimes, it hurts me because I long for his embraces. That’s why for my 1-yr old, I cuddle him a lot! Time flies and soon they wouldn’t want to be smothered by their mom. Haha.

    1. I totally get it. Like you, every time the older kid wants nothing to do with me (thankfully, only temporarily), I shower that love on the baby. Haha…she can’t get away that easily yet :).

  2. Love it! My 2nd one is already 4 and I have been getting these feelings of ‘NOT ANY MORE’ for a lot of things. The things that tested my capacity now seem to be a habit. A habit I don’t want to lose, no matter how much I believe it’s not everlasting.
    I just love when my both kids compete for who should hug mommy first even if its in the middle of the night., when all I want is SLEEP!

    1. It is a tough call – wanting to let go yet wanting to hold on. I can relate completely.

      I love voluntary hugs from J. I can’t wait to experience how you feel when your kids compete for hugs. I’ll just patiently wait for my days 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. Congrats on making it to the Huff Post with this brilliant piece of writing. I agree that one day we’all look back and wish we’d had one more cuddle, done one more carry, held hands just that little bit longer. We live in a top floor flat with no lift and I always pick up my two year old daughter to take her down even though she’s capable of doing it herself. 43 steps. I have my 6 month old strapped to me, a rucksack on my back, and I carry my daughter. Because she asks me. I may be a pack horse and my back is now crooked, but I chose to be a mum and that’s what this mum does xx

  4. My kid is 12 now and weighs 41 kilos. My greatest regret is that I can’t lift her. The up-side of her growing is that she is nearly as tall as me, and I don’t have to stoop to hug her. I make full use of this advantage. Thankfully, she is a huggy-bunny too.

    1. Oh huggy-bunny. How cute. Don’t you just love voluntary hugs? You should be taking advantage of these beautiful times.
      My little boy still loves hugging and kissing his mommy and I can’t get enough of those. As for his little sister, she has just begun her journey of hugs and kisses, mostly the latter and with big open mouthed drooly kisses – the best! 🙂

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