For Mother’s Day, my mom has been helping Benji to learn how to ride a bike. It’s proven much more challenging than anyone would have guessed, but they have stuck with it and made good progress.

That’s a lovely surprise for them to work on, but yesterday Benji spontaneously gave me a gift he didn’t even know was a gift.

At church we were standing and singing some songs at the beginning of the service, and Benji leaned against me. I asked if he wanted me to pick him up, and he said yes.

If you’re thinking, “Isn’t he a little big for that?” the answer is “Definitely.” He’s close to 60 lbs and his head comes within a few inches of my shoulder. But occasionally I still carry him upstairs at bedtime or when we’re dancing and being silly. These occasions are getting rarer as he matures physically and mentally, as it should be.

Yesterday I picked him up, and he leaned into me, occasionally draping his arms around me. He gave me a kiss on my cheek and put his head on my shoulder and I just held him while the song went on. He started that way for quite a long time. After a while my forearms started burning, but I kept holding him until he asked to get down again.

He almost never wants to snuggle like that — even “snuggling” usually entails more wrestling or getting kicked in the face. So a few moments of quiet, gentle affection from him meant more to me than any macaroni noodle necklace or adorably misspelled card.

It really was a mother’s day gift I treasured.

… Which I tried hard to remember eight hours later when he was spitting on the floor, slamming doors, and running outside stark naked yelling and crying because he didn’t get his way. Back to normal!

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