I’m not sure if it was my local laundromat or maybe a rare family gathering that I decided to show up to where my son, 6 years old but the height of a 9-year-old with the heart of a starry-eyed infant, wanted to sit on my lap.
There were plenty of chairs other than the one I was sitting on, but he wanted to sit on his mommy’s lap. Before I could open my mouth to agree or disagree, another adult shouted over the other murmuring voices “boy, ain’t you too old to be sitting on your mama’s lap?”
Have you ever had a moment in your life where someone said something to you that was not OK and your response was limp or overly agreeable and every single time you think about it afterwards you think of the hundreds of ways you could have reacted that would’ve been way more effective? This was that moment for me.
I looked up, looked at my sweet slinky 6-year old-and said, “sit right here next to me.” Since then, I’ve come to appreciate my son’s desire to sit on his mama’s lap. Yes, at 6 years old, my son knows how to work a tablet better than I ever could, pour his own juice without spilling it everywhere, shower himself properly, and he still likes to sit on his mama’s lap.
There is this constant murmur in the parenting world about what your child is too old or too young to do. I’ll admit, I’ve let a lot of those opinions govern how I react to my child wanting to do things that he’s supposedly should’ve grown out of. Since he was a little newborn baby, not even old enough to lift his head, there’s been a constant loop of don’t pick him up too much, don’t hold him too much, you’ll spoil him if you’re always rocking him.
My son sitting on my lap makes me feel comforted just as much as it makes him feel secure.
In the beginning, as a first time mom, I took that as the gospel. I’d put him down so that he wouldn’t be too clingy. I’d suppress my urge to cuddle him up in my arms just because. But, now that I’m more confident in the mom that I am and less worried about the guidelines of other parents, my son sitting on my lap makes me feel comforted just as much as it makes him feel secure.
My 6-year-old has always been a sweet, affectionate kid. I will admit that I am not the most outwardly affectionate person all of the time but somehow, I birthed this very loving child that wants nothing more than a physical connection with his mama. When we are on the couch together, he will get up and come to my end and say “I just want to sit next to you.” If I get up to go to another room for a moment, he will pop in to check on me and say, “I just want to be in the same room with you, Mommy.” I love that, despite how independent he is, he still cherishes and seeks out this physical connection to me.
I think in our world of parenting young children, we try to push through the younger stages and are hyper focused on highlighting these grand moments and shoving off the smaller, less dazzling ones. When my son was a newborn, I couldn’t wait for him to be old enough to sleep through the night. When he was a toddler, I couldn’t wait for him to be old enough to not wet the bed. When he finally turned 5, I couldn’t wait for him to start kindergarten. Now that my baby, my sweet and gentle boy, is almost 7, I want time to be kinder to me and slow down a bit. When he says that he wants to sit on my lap because we are in a new place and he’s uncertain, or he’s tired and my lap is the perfect place to rest, or he just wants to be connected to me with his ear over my heart, it reminds me that he is still my baby. It opens up a gateway into a kind of love and affection I wasn’t sure I was capable of.
My son is getting older and one day he won’t be able to sit on my lap and that is alright. That is the natural cycle of life as it should be. But, for now, he is just 6 years old. I am done pushing through the small, sweet pieces of his childhood to revel in large milestones. No, him sitting on my lap is not monumental or anything to go tell the newspapers about but it’s his way of connecting to me and feeling me close and I am so appreciative of it.
For more pieces like this, visit Shiny Happies, our collection of the best parts of raising those little people you love.