A Bittersweet Passing

One of the joys of grandmotherhood has been kisses from three-year-old RJ. He has always bestowed them solemnly and sparingly, which was OK with me. He treated his kisses as something of great value, which was the way I thought of them. The boy received kisses in the same way, his little eyes studying you as he decided whether or not you could give him a kiss this time. I don’t know why; I always asked.

Last Saturday, I asked RJ if he wanted a kiss and he said yes, so of course I gave him one. Immediately he wiped the kiss off with his sleeve as he said, “Grandma, that’s disgusting!” That was something new. I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed since kisses are usually exchanged, you know. Could I give him one and still get mine?

With what I thought was grandmotherly wisdom, I tried again as we got ready to leave. “RJ,” I said, “do you want a kiss?”

He nodded a yes.

“Where can I put it so you won’t wipe it off?” I asked. I pointed to a place on his cheek. He considered that for a second and then nodded his approval. Problem solved, I thought.

But no. As soon as I kissed his cheek, he wiped it off. Again. Along with a proclamation that it was disgusting.

Now I don’t take such things personally. My son says that RJ has begun to wipe off his mommy’s and daddy’s kisses as well, something my son thinks he picked up from the five-year-old at day care. But I was a little sad to see that the gifts of hugs and kisses that he had shared so carefully before had now turned into something disgusting (not that I am sure RJ knows what that means).

It’s normal for little boys to get to this stage. But it sure did come around too quickly!

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