Her first Uni year is coming to an end. She is anxious.
I took a liberty, usually only afforded to mums of little ones; I reached out across the settee and touched her hair. Twiddled the long shank of curl round my finger in an affectionate gesture.
I just wanted to offer comfort. And you can’t swaddle up big people like you can when they’re little and hurts are easily healed by hugs on lap. It doesn’t work any more; not just because they’re big but because they don’t want it in the same way.
I was expecting “Get off!”
Instead, she turned to look at me and softened her Ipad eyes into love. She put the screen aside and laid her head down on my knee, lifting legs up. She’s too tall to stretch out on the settee now – there was a time when she could only just see over it. She quietly melted.
We stayed like that a while. I stroked her hair.
It’s not saying ‘love you’ all the time that tells them how much they are loved. It’s those gestures that pass between you, at whatever age, which truly tell it all.