Gone are his newborn days when he would fall asleep on my chest, head nestled under my neck. Now any time I try to hold him close for too long he pushes back and turns around so he can see everything around him.
I miss those precious moments I had to hold him close, soak in his newborn smell and nurture our mother-son bond.
I hope my son knows that no matter what his dad and I are always here to help him. But we'll also let him out of our arms to explore, fall, bump, cry, etc., so he can learn and grow to reach his potential.
Despite his non-snuggling nature, my son has recently started to give me hugs. Occasionally when I pick him up he rests his head on my shoulder as if to say, "Thanks mom. I love you." I squeeze him back and say, "Thanks buddy. I love you too."
They are small moments, but I cherish them all the same.
As I thought about this new sign of affection, I thought about our Father in Heaven.
I know there are times when I feel that I'm alone, like I'm out of my Father's arms trying to make it through life. But just like I'm helping my son by letting him be independent so he can reach his potential, God is helping me learn and grow by letting me make choices, make mistakes and become better.
Sometimes it hurts when we have to learn things on our own. But those lessons are the ones we remember most. God is always keeping a watchful eye over us, so He can help us when we turn to Him. When we're feeling lost and weary, afraid and hopeless, He gives us a little hug to remind us He is there.
His hugs come from the service of a neighbor, the smile of a stranger, the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of the mountains. Whatever touches your hear and reminds you of Him. That's His little hug for you. That's the moment He's inviting you to cherish and remember Him.
"My child, I love you."
He'll let you keep learning. He'll let you keep working through your challenges, but He'll always be there for you with a little hug along the way.
Photo credit: lds.org