Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Never Forget Your First Kiss

First kisses are magical. I still remember my very first kiss. A good friend of mine that I had a terrible crush on had escorted me to my big sophomore dance and he kissed me goodnight when he brought me home. It was kind and sweet and genuinely affectionate, if not exactly romantic.

I remember the first time Herb kissed me. It was after our first “real” date, in the parking lot of CafĂ© Escadrille in Burlington. He held my hand as we walked back to our cars and I’ll never forget the thrill of standing on my tiptoes as he leaned down to kiss me. It was also kind and sweet and genuinely affectionate, but completely romantic and sexy as well.

And as of yesterday, I have one more perfect first kiss to add to my list. Ryan and I were visiting my mom, and she and I were sitting on the living room floor as he happily toddled back and forth, bringing us his various toys, when out of the blue, he casually marched over to me, planted a big wet kiss on my cheek and solemnly announced, “Mwah,” before wandering away to find another toy. It was the off-handedness of the gesture that made it so sweet. He didn’t hang around waiting for applause or approval or even acknowledgement from me, he simply expressed what he felt and went on with his day. But the sweet gesture of affection brought tears to my eyes with its simplicity.

I love how affectionate Ryan is these days, and especially how casual he is about it. Some children give someone a hug and then look expectantly around for praise. But Ryan simply loves people, especially his family. He often runs up to Herb or me and hugs us in passing before going on his merry way. It’s quite common for him to suddenly begin patting one of us on the back as we’re holding him. He squeezes me around the neck as I carry him up the stairs, or he gives Daddy a playful pat on the head when he’s sitting on Daddy’s shoulders, or he’ll lay his head down on the shoulder of whoever’s carrying him. I don’t think he does it in deliberate imitation of us, because when he imitates us he almost always looks to one or the other of us for praise and approval. He’s simply showing his affection in the most natural way, by physical contact.

And oh, how sweet it is.

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